, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 226-230

Vitamin D Receptor Gene Polymorphisms and Bone Mineral Density in Elderly Chinese Men and Women in Hong Kong

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Although genetic factors have been strongly implicated in determining bone mineral density (BMD), the role of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphism remains controversial. An overall consensus is difficult, as the populations studied have been heterogeneous with respect to menopausal status and ethnicity. Moreover, some studies have examined only small populations, and relatively few studies have been conducted in Asian populations. There is mounting evidence that calcium homeostasis in Asian populations differs from that in Caucasians. This difference may be mediated, in part, through VDR effects. In a cross-sectional study we have examined the relationship between the VDR polymorphism and BMD in 272 women (mean age 75 years) and 237 men (mean age 73 years) of Chinese origin from Hong Kong. Consistent with other studies in Asian populations we found higher frequencies of the T, b and a alleles compared with those reported in Caucasian populations. Moreover, no significant difference in BMD was observed when subjects were grouped by a combination of the genotypes (bbAATT, bbAaTT, bbaaTT, BbAaTt, BbAATt). These results suggest that VDR polymorphism is not associated with BMD in elderly Hong Kong Chinese men and women.

Received: 16 July 1998 / Accepted: 15 February 1999