Identification of Transcripts with Shared Roles in the Pathogenesis of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis and Cardiovascular Disease

Sjur Reppe*, Sveinung Gundersen, Geir K. Sandve, Yunpeng Wang, Ole A. Andreassen, Carolina Medina-Gomez, Fernando Rivadeneira, Tor P. Utheim, Eivind Hovig, Kaare M. Gautvik

*Corresponding author for this work

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Epidemiological evidence suggests existing comorbidity between postmenopausal osteoporosis (OP) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), but identification of possible shared genes is lacking. The skeletal global transcriptomes were analyzed in trans-iliac bone biopsies (n = 84) from clinically well-characterized postmenopausal women (50 to 86 years) without clinical CVD using microchips and RNA sequencing. One thousand transcripts highly correlated with areal bone mineral density (aBMD) were further analyzed using bioinformatics, and common genes overlapping with CVD and associated biological mechanisms, pathways and functions were identified. Fifty genes (45 mRNAs, 5 miRNAs) were discovered with established roles in oxidative stress, inflammatory response, endothelial function, fibrosis, dyslipidemia and osteoblastogenesis/calcification. These pleiotropic genes with possible CVD comorbidity functions were also present in transcriptomes of microvascular endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes and were differentially expressed between healthy and osteoporotic women with fragility fractures. The results were supported by a genetic pleiotropy-informed conditional False Discovery Rate approach identifying any overlap in single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within several genes encoding aBMD- and CVD-associated transcripts. The study provides transcriptional and genomic evidence for genes of importance for both BMD regulation and CVD risk in a large collection of postmenopausal bone biopsies. Most of the transcripts identified in the CVD risk categories have no previously recognized roles in OP pathogenesis and provide novel avenues for exploring the mechanistic basis for the biological association between CVD and OP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5554
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2024

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