In view of the interactions of vitamin D and the estrogen endocrine system, we studied the combined influence of polymorphisms in the estrogen receptor (ER) alpha gene and the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene on the susceptibility to osteoporotic vertebral fractures in 634 women aged 55 yr and older. Three VDR haplotypes (1, 2, and 3) of the BsmI, ApaI, and TaqI restriction fragment length polymorphisms and three ERalpha haplotypes (1, 2, and 3) of the PvuII and XbaI restriction fragment length polymorphisms were identified. We captured 131 nonvertebral and 85 vertebral fracture cases during a mean follow-up period of 7 yr. ERalpha haplotype 1 was dose-dependently associated with increased vertebral fracture risk (P < 0.001) corresponding to an odds ratio of 1.9 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.9-4.1] per copy of the risk allele. VDR haplotype 1 was overrepresented in vertebral fracture cases. There was a significant interaction (P = 0.01) between ERalpha haplotype 1 and VDR haplotype 1 in determining vertebral fracture risk. The association of ERalpha haplotype 1 with vertebral fracture risk was only present in homozygous carriers of VDR haplotype 1. The risk of fracture was 2.5 (95% CI, 0.6-9.9) for heterozygous and 10.3 (95% CI, 2.7-40) for homozygous carriers of ERalpha haplotype 1. These associations were independent of bone mineral density. In conclusion, interaction between ERalpha and VDR gene polymorphisms leads to increased risk of osteoporotic vertebral fractures in women, largely independent of bone mineral density.

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Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Colin, E., Uitterlinden, A., Bergink, A., van der Klift, M., Fang, Y., Arp, P., … Hofman, A. (2003). Interaction between vitamin D receptor genotype and estrogen receptor alpha genotype influences vertebral fracture risk. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. doi:10.1210/jc.2002-021861