Genetic markers of bone and joint health and physical capability in older adults: the HALCyon programme.
Alfred T., Ben-Shlomo Y., Cooper R., Hardy R., Cooper C., Deary IJ., Gunnell D., Harris SE., Kumari M., Martin RM., Sayer AA., Starr JM., Kuh D., Day INM., HALCyon study team None.
BACKGROUND: Good bone and joint health is essential for the physical tasks of daily living and poorer indicators of physical capability in older adults have been associated with increased mortality rates. Genetic variants of indicators of bone and joint health may be associated with measures of physical capability. METHODS: As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) programme, men and women aged between 52 and 90+ years from six UK cohorts were genotyped for a polymorphism associated with serum calcium (rs1801725, CASR), two polymorphisms associated with bone mineral density (BMD) (rs2941740, ESR1 and rs9594759, RANKL) and one associated with osteoarthritis risk rs3815148 (COG5). Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study effects of the associations between each of the polymorphisms and measures of physical capability: grip strength, timed walk or get up and go, chair rises and standing balance. RESULTS: Few important associations were observed among the several tests. We found that carriers of the serum calcium-raising allele had poorer grip strength compared with non-carriers (pooled p=0.05, n=11,239) after adjusting for age and sex. Inconsistent results were observed for the two variants associated with BMD and we found no evidence for an association between rs3815148 (COG5) and any of the physical capability measures. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest elevated serum calcium levels may lead to lower grip strength, though this requires further replication. Our results do not provide evidence for a substantial influence of these variants in ESR1, RANKL and COG5 on physical capability in older adults.