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Keywords:

  • low bone density;
  • secondary osteoporosis;
  • vitamin D receptor polymorphisms;
  • hyperthyroidism;
  • postmenopause

Abstract

Bone mineral density (BMD) is modulated by genetic and environmental factors or certain diseases. In several conditions such as low calcium intake, an influence of vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms on BMD has been suggested. In the present study, we investigated the relationship of Bsm I and Fok I polymorphisms of the VDR gene and BMD in patients with hyperthyroidism, a disease that often results in low BMD. Bsm I and Fok I genotypes were determined in 76 postmenopausal hyperthyroid patients and 62 healthy postmenopausal women as controls. Patients and controls were matched for age, time since menopause, and lifestyle factors and were free of estrogen medication. BMD evaluation included axial dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (PQCT). Low BMD was defined as −2.5 STD below the young adult mean value. Biochemical parameters investigated were thyroid hormones, osteocalcin, and 25-(OH)-vitamin D3 as well as routine laboratory data. Low BMD was found in 61% of hyperthyroid patients and in only 23% of euthyroid controls. In the group of hyperthyroid patients with low bone density, the BB genotype (VDR Bsm I polymorphisms) was significantly more frequent (39%) than in controls (13%; p = 0.003) and hyperthyroid patients with normal BMD (6%; p = 0.013). The odds ratio (OR) for low BMD in patients with BB genotype was 5.7 (95% CI, 1.7-19.1; p < 0.005) as compared with the Bb and bb genotypes and 5.5 (95% CI, 2.3-13.2; p < 0.0001) for hyperthyroidism alone. The cumulative risk for low BMD in patients with hyperthyroidism and BB genotype was 31.4 (95% CI, 3.9-256; p < 0.0003). VDR Fok I genotypes showed no significant relationship with BMD or other general or bone-specific parameters. Thus, hyperthyroidism and the genetic background of a BB genotype may promote synergistically the development of low BMD in hyperthyroid patients. Screening for the BB genotype in these patients therefore could help to identify those with particularly high risk for the development of low BMD and allow early treatment.