Vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms and the risk of fractures in older women

Kristine E. Ensrud, Katie Stone, Jane A. Cauley, Chris White, Joseph M. Zmuda, Tuan V. Nguyen, John A. Eisman, Steven R. Cummings

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47 Scopus citations


The association between vitamin D receptor gene polypmorphisms and bone mineral density is controversial. The relationship between vitamin D receptor genotype and risk of fracture is uncertain. To determine whether vitamin D receptor polymorphisms were associated with the risk of hip, vertebral, and other (nonhip, nonvertebral) fractures in elderly women, we conducted a case- cohort study within a prospective study of 9704 community-dwelling women aged 65 years and older. Vitamin D receptor allele and genotype frequencies in women who experienced first incident hip (n = 181), vertebral (n = 127), and other (n = 223) fractures were compared with those of control women selected randomly from the cohort. Average length of follow-up was 6.5, 3.7, and 5.4 years for women in hip, vertebral, and other fracture analyses, respectively. Vitamin D receptor polymorphisms were determined by polymerase chain reaction amplification of genomic DNA using TaqI and ApaI restriction site endonuclease digestion. All nonvertebral fractures were confirmed by X-ray reports; hip fractures were validated by review of X-ray films. Vertebral fractures were defined by morphometry using lateral spine radiography at baseline and an average of 3.7 years later. Allele or genotype frequencies did not differ between fracture cases and their respective controls. Vitamin D receptor genotype (defined by TaqI, ApaI, or the combination of TaqI and ApaI) was not significantly associated with the risk of hip, vertebral, or other fractures. For example, compared with the referent group of women with TT genotype, those with Tt and tt genotypes had similar age- and weight- adjusted risks of fracture at the hip (hazard ratios 0.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.6-1.3, and 0.8, 95% CI 0.5-1.2, respectively), spine (odds ratios 1.1, 95% CI 0.7-1.8, and 0.7, 95% CI 0.4-1.3, respectively), or other skeletal site (hazard ratios 1.0, 95% CI 0.7-1.4, and 1.0, 95% CI 0.7-1.5, respectively). These findings were not altered in additional analyses including those adjusted for and stratified by age, ethnic ancestry, calcaneal bone density, dietary calcium intake, use of calcium supplements, use of vitamin D supplements, and oral estrogen use. We conclude that Vitamin D receptor polymorphisms defined by TaqI and ApaI are not associated with the risk of fracture in older women. Our results suggest that determination of these vitamin D receptor polymorphisms is not a clinically useful test for the prediction of fracture risk in elderly women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1637-1645
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1999


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