ALOX12 polymorphisms are associated with fat mass but not peak bone mineral density in Chinese nuclear families.
OBJECTIVE: Arachidonate 12-lipoxygenase (ALOX12) is a member of the lipoxygenase superfamily, which catalyzes the incorporation of molecular oxygen into polyunsaturated fatty acids. The products of ALOX12 reactions serve as endogenous ligands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARG). The activation of the PPARG pathway in marrow-derived mesenchymal progenitors stimulates adipogenesis and inhibits osteoblastogenesis. Our objective was to determine whether polymorphisms in the ALOX12 gene were associated with variations in peak bone mineral density (BMD) and obesity phenotypes in young Chinese men. METHODS: All six tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ALOX12 gene were genotyped in a total of 1215 subjects from 400 Chinese nuclear families by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction. The BMD at the lumbar spine and hip, total fat mass (TFM) and total lean mass (TLM) were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The pairwise linkage disequilibrium among SNPs was measured, and the haplotype blocks were inferred. Both the individual SNP markers and the haplotypes were tested for an association with the peak BMD, body mass index, TFM, TLM and percentage fat mass (PFM) using the quantitative transmission disequilibrium test (QTDT). RESULTS: Using the QTDT, significant within-family association was found between the rs2073438 polymorphism in the ALOX12 gene and the TFM and PFM (P=0.007 and 0.012, respectively). Haplotype analyses were combined with our individual SNP results and remained significant even after correction for multiple testing. However, we failed to find significant within-family associations between ALOX12 SNPs and the BMD at any bone site in young Chinese men. CONCLUSIONS: Our present results suggest that the rs2073438 polymorphism of ALOX12 contributes to the variation of obesity phenotypes in young Chinese men, although we failed to replicate the association with the peak BMD variation in this sample. Further independent studies are needed to confirm our findings.