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alpha-Actinin-3 deficiency is associated with reduced bone mass in human and mouse


Bone mineral density (BMD) is a complex trait that is the single best predictor of the risk of osteoporotic fractures. Candidate gene and genome-wide association studies have identified genetic variations in approximately 30 genetic loci associated with BMD variation in humans. alpha-Actinin-3 (ACTN3) is highly expressed in fast skeletal muscle fibres. There is a common null-polymorphism R577X in human ACTN3 that results in complete deficiency of the alpha-actinin-3 protein in approximately 20% of Eurasians. Absence of alpha-actinin-3 does not cause any disease phenotypes in muscle because of compensation by alpha-actinin-2. However, alpha-actinin-3 deficiency has been shown to be detrimental to athletic sprint/power performance. In this report we reveal additional functions for alpha-actinin-3 in bone. alpha-Actinin-3 but not alpha-actinin-2 is expressed in osteoblasts. The Actn3(-/-) mouse displays significantly reduced bone mass, with reduced cortical bone volume (-14%) and trabecular number (-61%) seen by microCT. Dynamic histomorphometry indicated this was due to a reduction in bone formation. In a cohort of postmenopausal Australian women, ACTN3 577XX genotype was associated with lower BMD in an additive genetic model, with the R577X genotype contributing 1.1% of the variance in BMD. Microarray analysis of cultured osteoprogenitors from Actn3(-/-) mice showed alterations in expression of several genes regulating bone mass and osteoblast/osteoclast activity, including Enpp1, Opg and Wnt7b. Our studies suggest that ACTN3 likely contributes to the regulation of bone mass through alterations in bone turnover. Given the high frequency of R577X in the general population, the potential role of ACTN3 R577X as a factor influencing variations in BMD in elderly humans warrants further study.

Type Journal
ISBN 1873-2763 (Electronic) 1873-2763 (Linking)
Authors Yang, N.; Schindeler, A.; McDonald, M. M.; Seto, J. T.; Houweling, P. J.; Lek, M.; Hogarth, M.; Morse, A. R.; Raftery, J. M.; Balasuriya, D.; Macarthur, D. G.; Berman, Y.; Quinlan, K. G.; Eisman, J. A.; Nguyen, T. V.; Center, J. R.; Prince, R. L.; Wilson, S. G.; Zhu, K.; Little, D. G.; North, K. N.;
Publisher Name BONE
Published Date 2011-01-01
Published Volume 49
Published Issue 4
Published Pages 790-8
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version