According to Australian researchers, there is a strong link between the fat and obesity gene (FTO) and hip fracture in women. Their work suggests that the gene’s high risk variant can increase the risk of hip fracture by as much as 82%.
According to a news release from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, its researchers Bich Tran, PhD, and Tuan Nguyen, PhD, conducted the study. During the study, the researchers reportedly examined six gene variants of the FTO gene taken from the DNA of 934 women in the Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study (DOES). The release notes that the women were all more than 60 years old and their bone health was followed from 1989 and 2007. The release reports that during that period, a total of 102 women sustained hip fractures.
The results indicate that if a woman exhibits a low-risk genotype, the risk of fracture is 10%. If she has a high-risk genotype, it is 16%. The authors articulate their hope that the study’s findings may hold promise in improving the prediction of hip fracture.
The authors rearticulate the study’s findings, noting, “Our results showed a strong association with hip fracture, with some gene variants doubling the risk of fracture. Interestingly, this was independent of both the bone density and BMI of the women we studied.”
The researchers add that they found the FTO gene expresses in bone cells, and may play a role in bone turnover, or remodeling, though its exact mechanisms are unclear. In the study, the authors also emphasize that while the findings are promising, they are the first step. The results will need to be replicated in future studies and mechanisms fully understood before it can be useful in treatment.
Source: Garvan Institute of Medical Research