New explanation for autosomal dominant high bone mass: Mutation of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6

Michael P. Whyte, William H. McAlister, Fan Zhang, Vinieth N. Bijanki, Angela Nenninger, Gary S. Gottesman, Elizabeth L. Lin, Margaret Huskey, Shenghui Duan, Kathryn Dahir, Steven Mumm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


LRP5 encodes low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5). When LRP5 with a Frizzled receptor join on the surface of an osteoblast and bind a member of the Wnt family of ligands, canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling occurs and increases bone formation. Eleven heterozygous gain-of-function missense mutations within LRP5 are known to prevent the LRP5 inhibitory ligands sclerostin and dickkopf1 from attaching to LRP5's first β-propeller, and thereby explain the rare autosomal dominant (AD) skeletal disorder “high bone mass” (HBM). LRP6 is a cognate co-receptor of LRP5 and similarly controls Wnt signaling in osteoblasts, yet the consequences of increased LRP6-mediated signaling remain unknown. We investigated two multi-generational American families manifesting the clinical and routine laboratory features of LRP5 HBM but without an LRP5 defect and instead carrying a heterozygous LRP6 missense mutation that would alter the first β-propeller of LRP6. In Family 1 LRP6 c.602C>T, p.A201V was homologous to LRP5 HBM mutation c.641C>T, p.A214V, and in Family 2 LRP6 c.553A>C, p.N185H was homologous to LRP5 HBM mutation c.593A>G, p.N198S but predicting a different residue at the identical amino acid position. In both families the LRP6 mutation co-segregated with striking generalized osteosclerosis and hyperostosis. Clinical features shared by the seven LRP6 HBM family members and ten LRP5 HBM patients included a broad jaw, torus palatinus, teeth encased in bone and, reportedly, resistance to fracturing and inability to float in water. For both HBM disorders, all affected individuals were taller than average for Americans (Ps < 0.005), but with similar mean height Z-scores (P = 0.7606) and indistinguishable radiographic skeletal features. Absence of adult maxillary lateral incisors was reported by some LRP6 HBM individuals. In contrast, our 16 patients with AD osteopetrosis [i.e., Albers-Schönberg disease (A-SD)] had an unremarkable mean height Z-score (P = 0.9401) lower than for either HBM group (Ps < 0.05). DXA mean BMD Z-scores in LRP6 HBM versus LRP5 HBM were somewhat higher at the lumbar spine (+7.8 vs +6.5, respectively; P = 0.0403), but no different at the total hip (+7.9 vs +7.7, respectively; P = 0.7905). Among the three diagnostic groups, only the LRP6 HBM DXA BMD values at the spine seemed to increase with subject age (R = +0.7183, P = 0.0448). Total hip BMD Z-scores were not significantly different among the three disorders (Ps > 0.05), and showed no age effect (Ps > 0.1). HR-pQCT available only for LRP6 HBM revealed indistinct corticomedullary boundaries, high distal forearm and tibial total volumetric BMD, and finite element analysis predicted marked fracture resistance. Hence, we have discovered mutations of LRP6 that cause a dento-osseous disorder indistinguishable without mutation analysis from LRP5 HBM. LRP6 HBM seems associated with generally good health, providing some reassurance for the development of anabolic treatments aimed to enhance LRP5/LRP6-mediated osteogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-243
Number of pages16
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Albers-Schönberg disease
  • Bone modeling
  • Chiari I malformation
  • Creatine kinase
  • DXA
  • Endosteum
  • Exostosis
  • High resolution computed tomography
  • Hyperostosis
  • LRP5
  • LRP6
  • Lactate dehydrogenase
  • Osteopetrosis
  • Osteosclerosis
  • Sclerostin
  • Skeletal dysplasia
  • Torus palatinus
  • Translational research
  • Wnt signaling
  • β-Catenin


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