Background. Osteoporosis is a common disorder with a strong genetic component. Our aim was to evaluate the correlation of the vitamin D receptor FokI start codon polymorphism to bone mineral density and the occurence of osteoporosis.
Methods. We determined the vitamin D receptor FokI start codon polymorphism using polymerase chain reaction-based restriction analysis in 163 postmenopausal women in Taiwan. The vitamin D receptor gene polymorphism was detected by the restriction enzyme FokI, where the F allele indicated the absence of the cuttable site and the f allele its presence. We then related the genotypes to bone mineral density and the occurence of osteoporosis in these women.
Results. The allelic frequencies for 163 postmenopausal women in Taiwan were 59.2% for F and 40.8% for f in FokI restriction fragment length polymorphisms. The prevalence of each genotype in the study population was: 42.3% FF, 33.7% Ff and 24% ff. The three genotypic groups differed significantly in bone mineral density at the lumbar spine (P = 0.029). Bone mineral density was highest in the Ff group and lowest in the ff group at the lumbar spine and the femoral neck. The FokI vitamin D receptor genotype showed a significant effect on the prevalence of osteoporosis in the subjects at the lumbar spine. That is, women with genotype ff had a 2.8 times greater risk for osteoporosis (P < 0.05), and those with genotype FF had a 0.8 times greater risk than women with genotype Ff.
Conclusion. Our findings indicate that the vitamin D receptor FokI start codon polymorphism is associated with reduced bone mineral density and predisposes women to osteoporosis at the lumbar spine.