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YZ Liu, YJ Liu, RR Recker, and HW Deng

We aim to give a comprehensive review, updated to 2002, of the most important and representative molecular genetic studies, performed mainly within the past decade, that aimed to identify the gene(s) involved in osteoporosis. Early reviews were largely confined to association studies in humans, but we review here, separately, the results of both association and linkage studies in humans, and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in animal models. The main results of all the studies are tabulated for comparison and ease of reference, and to provide a comprehensive retrospective view of molecular genetics studies of osteoporosis. The most striking findings and the most representative studies are singled out for comment regarding the immediacy of their influence on present understanding of the genetics of osteoporosis and on the current status of genetic research in osteoporosis. This is particularly relevant for studies on the association of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene, for which there has been a large body of studies and reviews published. The format adopted by this review should be ideal for accommodating future new advances and studies in a fairly young field that is still developing rapidly.

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J Zhou, ZM Kang, QM Xie, C Liu, SJ Lou, YZ Chen, and CL Jiang

Glucocorticoids (GCs) are routinely believed to work solely through genomic mechanisms. Recent evidence indicates that GCs can act at the membrane to exert rapid nongenomic effects on various tissues and cells. To ascertain whether nongenomic effects of GCs exist on the allergic asthma reaction, Hartley guinea pigs were sensitized with ovalbumin and challenged with the same antigen given by aerosol. Some animals received inhaled budesonide (3 mg/ml suspended in Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose vehicle) for 5 minutes before ovalbumin challenge; Other animals received saline or blank vehicle as control. We measured the changes of lung resistance and dynamic lung compliance, the pulmonary function used to evaluate allergic asthma severity. Inhaled budesonide inhibited allergic reaction within 10 minutes, which would preclude genomic-mediated responses that normally takes several hours to occur. This study infers for the first time that rapid nongenomic effect of GCs exists on allergic asthma reaction, and provides a new way to investigate nongenomic mechanism of GCs. Further study would raise the possibility of new therapeutic strategies for allergic disease including asthma.