Osteoporosis International

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 411–416

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T polymorphism is associated with osteoporotic vertebral fractures, but is a weak predictor of BMD

  • Morten M. Villadsen
  • Mathias H. Bünger
  • Mette Carstens
  • Liselotte Stenkjær
  • Bente L. Langdahl
Original Article


Osteoporosis is a common disease with a strong genetic component. Linkage studies have suggested linkage between BMD and loci on chromosome 1. The MTHFR gene is located on chromosome 1. MTHFR catalyzes the conversion of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methylenetetrahydrofolate, which is used for homocysteine methylation to methionine. The rare genotype (TT) of the C677T polymorphism has previously been demonstrated to be associated with increased plasma homocysteine levels in individuals with inadequate plasma folate levels. Recently, the TT genotype has been found to be associated with reduced bone mass. We therefore examined if the C677T polymorphism in the MTHFR gene is associated with changes in bone mass and risk of osteoporotic fractures in 388 osteoporotic patients and 336 normal individuals. The distributions of the genotypes CC, CT and TT in women with osteoporotic vertebral fractures and normal controls were 43.5%, 42.2% and 14.3% and 52.0%, 42.0% and 8.0%, respectively, χ2=5.62, P=0.06. Since studies of the functionality of this polymorphism have revealed that only the TT genotype is associated with biochemical changes, we also compared the prevalence of the TT genotype versus the CT- and CC genotypes in patients and controls and found that the TT genotype is significantly more common in women with vertebral fractures (14.3%) compared with normal controls (8.0%), χ2=4.31, P<0.05. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that vertebral fractures were significantly associated with BMD (lumbar spine) and height but only marginally with the MTHFR genotype (P=0.06). Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that weight, age and the MTHFR polymorphism were predictors of lumbar spine BMD in women. However, age- and gender-corrected BMD of the lumbar spine and the hip was not significantly different between MTHFR genotypes. Furthermore, individuals with the TT genotype did not have BMD significantly lower than the combined group of individuals with the CT- or CC genotypes. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that the rare TT genotype of the C677T polymorphism in the MTHFR gene is associated with increased risk of osteoporotic fractures in women and a weak predictor of lumbar spine BMD.


BMD C677T polymorphism MTHFR 


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morten M. Villadsen
    • 1
  • Mathias H. Bünger
    • 1
  • Mette Carstens
    • 1
  • Liselotte Stenkjær
    • 1
  • Bente L. Langdahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Endocrinology and MetabolismAarhus AmtssygehusAarhus CDenmark

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