Navigation Links
BU study finds new genetic loci associated with menopause onset

(Boston)-- An international team of researchers from the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine and other institutions has uncovered 13 genetic loci, linked to immune function and DNA repair, that are factors in the age of onset of menopause.

Menopause -- the cessation of reproductive function of the ovaries -- is a major hormonal change that affects most women when they are in their early 50s. Most prior studies of the age of onset of menopause have focused on genes from the estrogen-production pathway or vascular components.

In the new study, published online Jan. 22 in Nature Genetics, a research team led by Kathryn Lunetta, professor of biostatistics at the BU School of Public Health, and Joanne Murabito, associate professor of medicine at the BU School of Medicine, identified 13 novel loci associated with menopause onset, while confirming four previously established loci. Most of the 17 loci are associated with genes related to DNA damage repair or auto-immune disease; others are linked to hormonal regulation.

"Our findings demonstrate the role of genes which regulate DNA repair and immune function, as well as genes affecting neuroendocrine pathways of ovarian function in regulating age at menopause, indicating the process of aging is involved in both somatic and germ line aging" the authors said.

Lunetta said the new findings "bring us closer to understanding the genetic basis for the timing of menopause. They may also provide clues to the genetic basis of early onset or premature menopause and reduced fertility.

"We hope that as a better understanding of the biologic effects of these menopause-related variants are uncovered, we will gain new insights into the connections between menopause and cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and other traits related to aging, and that this will provide avenues for prevention and treatment of these conditions," she said.

According to Murabito, director of the research clinic at the Framingham Heart Study, "It will be important to determine if a genetic variant that directly influences age at menopause also increases risk for later life health conditions, such as breast cancer."

The authors said they expected further research to identify "a substantial number of additional common variants" that impact age of menopause, and that many of them will be located in genes identified in their study. The study examined more than 50,000 women of European descent who had experienced menopause between the ages of 40 and 60.

The research team noted that a large-scale study of menopause onset in African-American women is underway, which will help to determine whether the genetic variations that affect menopause onset in African-American women are similar or substantially different for women of primarily European descent.

Besides Lunetta and Murabito, senior authors on the study include: Anna Murray, a senior lecturer in genetics at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter (UK); and Jenny A. Visser, a scientist at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam (Netherlands).


Contact: Lisa Chedekel
Boston University Medical Center

Related biology news :

1. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
2. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
3. New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling
4. CU-Boulder study suggests air quality regulations miss key pollutants
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
9. New study indicates link between weight gains during pregnancy and dieting history
10. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
11. Sweat it out: UH study examines ability of sweat patches to monitor bone loss
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/16/2015)... Calif. , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics ... of human interface solutions, today announced expansion of ... TouchView ™ touch controller and display driver ... revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI products add ... TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015  In this ... the basis of product, type, application, disease ... in this report are consumables, services, software. ... are safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation ... report are diagnostics development, drug discovery and ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International has ... to provide preclinical development services to the National Cancer ... SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and support ... of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate potential ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... 2015 --> ... companion diagnostics is one of the major ... pharmaceutical companies and diagnostic manufacturers working together ... . --> ... global cancer biomarkers market spread across 89 ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced  today that ... plan (Rights Plan) in an effort to preserve the ... Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). ... of its NOLs could be substantially limited if the ... 382 of the Code. In general, an ownership change ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting ... New York . ... website approximately 5 minutes prior to the presentation to ... the presentation will be available on the website approximately ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... November 25, 2015 The ... is a professional and in-depth study on the ...      (Logo: ) , ... industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain ... the international markets including development trends, competitive landscape ...
Breaking Biology Technology: