Ethnic difference in osteoporosis-related phenotypes and its potential underlying genetic determination

S. F. Lei, Y. Chen, D. H. Xiong, L. M. Li, Hong Wen Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Osteoporosis is a serious health problem in both Caucasians and Asians. Caucasians and Asians are two distinct major ethnic groups, which may have differential genetic determination underlying complex genetic diseases such as osteoporosis. However, to date, there has been no systematic review focusing on the aspect of ethnic difference in risk to osteoporosis and its potential underlying genetic determination between Asians and Caucasians. Here, we firstly review diverse aspects of osteoporosis-related differences, including the differences of epidemiology of osteoporotic fractures, peak bone mass, bone loss, bone area, bone geometry and drug treatment response between Asians and Caucasians. Then, we provide some potential genetic evidence on the different heritability and inheritance mode of bone phenotypes, the different osteoporosis candidate genes and the differential results in related molecular studies between them, to explain the above osteoporosis-related phenotypic differences. The results suggest that the osteoporosis-related phenotypic differences between Asians and Caucasians may be partially the result of the different ethnic genetic background. The present review may increase our understanding of potential different mechanisms related to ethnicity in pathogenesis of osteoporosis for effective and potentially customized treatments in different major ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-46
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal Neuronal Interactions
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Asians
  • Bone mineral density
  • Caucasians
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoporotic fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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