American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Package)

NIAMS ARRA Chronicles

ARRA Supports Development of Genetic Database for Musculoskeletal Disorders
Dateline: Portland, Ore.

February 15, 2011 (historical)

Photo of Dr. Steven Teitelbaum with members of his lab.

Photo ID: Dr. Eric Orwoll

Two major long-term studies of osteoporosis, funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), will be the source of a new genetic database for musculoskeletal disorders, thanks to additional support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Scientists from the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland and colleagues at the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) are developing a linked phenotype/genotype database from information obtained from the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) and the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS). The resource will be made available to researchers studying the genetics of major musculoskeletal disorders.

ARRA support is allowing Eric Orwoll, M.D., and his OHSU and CPMC colleagues to perform genotyping of more than 10,300 participants in the SOF and MrOS projects, which are large, community-based studies of older men and women. The two studies have already produced phenotypic data on participants’ bone density, bone structure and history of fracture, along with body composition and presence of osteoarthritis. Once combined, the phenotypic/genotypic information will be transferred to dbGaP, the National Library of Medicine’s database of Genotypes and Phenotypes. "These data will significantly increase research opportunities in the genetics of major musculoskeletal disorders," says Dr. Orwoll.

The new database could be used by scientists as a resource to identify genetic factors that influence bone health, say the investigators. Finding genetic variations that protect against osteoporosis or increase risk of low bone mass could suggest targets for drug development to prevent fractures. The database might also uncover genetic markers to identify potential clinical trial participants.

In addition, the SOF and MrOS cohorts contain extensive data on participants’ lifestyle which allow researchers to analyze the effects of people’s environments on health disease. Furthermore, the cohorts have measurements related to sleep, visual problems, physical performance and cognition that would be useful in collaborative studies of age-related conditions.

"With the ARRA’s help, we’ll be able to expand the usefulness of our already existing data beyond what we originally envisioned," says Dr. Orwoll. "The new information should provide a boost to musculoskeletal and other research efforts."

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The activity above is being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). More information about the National Institutes of Health’s ARRA grant funding opportunities can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/recovery. To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the ARRA, visit http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/. To track all federal funds provided through the ARRA, visit http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/default.aspx.