Navigation Links
Study finds genetic links to age of first menstrual period and menopause
Date:5/17/2009

Boston, MA -- Newly identified gene variants associated with the age at which females experience their first menstrual period and the onset of menopause may help shed light on the prevention of breast and endometrial cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.

In a new study, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT report that they have identified 10 genetic variants in two chromosomal regions associated with age at menarche (the first menstrual period), and 13 genetic variants in four chromosomal regions associated with age at natural menopause. The paper, "Genome-wide association studies identify loci associated with age at menarche and at natural menopause," will publish online in Nature Genetics on May 17, 2009 ( http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/index.html ).

Menarche and natural menopause are two important physiological events in a woman's life. An early onset of menarche and later menopause are well-established risk factors for the development of breast cancer and endometrial cancer, the researchers explain. On the other hand, early menopause increases risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

Previous studies have suggested both menarche and menopause may be partially under genetic control. To identify common genetic variants influencing these states, the researchers analyzed more than 317,000 gene variants in a total of 17,438 women from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and the Women's Genome Health Study (WGHS) based at BWH.

"At these newly identified loci, fine mapping or sequencing might lead to identification of the causal variants, and thus expand our knowledge of the underlying physiology and biological regulation of these traits," said lead author Chunyan He, who was a doctoral student in the HSPH Department of Epidemiology while conducting the research. "Insights into the genetic factors influencing the timing of menarche and natural menopause might shed light on normal reproductive function and the prevention of the diseases associated with these two traits."

Daniel Chasman, Director of Computational Biology in the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at BWH, said: "The collaboration of the WGHS and the NHS represents a great example of how large cohorts with genome-wide data can complement each other. While only one locus reached near genome-wide significance in the NHS alone, the meta-analysis of combined data had much more statistical power and revealed a total of two loci for timing of menarche and four for timing of menopause." Chasman, also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, added, "Of the loci for timing of menopause, three were already strong but not proven candidates in the NHS; these loci reached genome-wide significance in the WGHS alone, supplementing the meta-analysis by a second mode of validation through replication. The remaining locus, for timing of menopause, would not have been identified, even as a candidate, without the joint power of these two cohorts working together. Future collaborations will hopefully continue to leverage the combined power of the two cohorts for association studies directed at other clinical characteristics."

The NHS was begun in 1976 to investigate the potential long term consequences of the use of oral contraceptives. The studies were soon expanded to include diet and nutrition, in recognition of their roles in the development of chronic diseases. The research continues today with more than 116,000 women enrolled in the study.

The WGHS was announced in 2006 as a survey of genetic differences among 28,000 initially healthy American women who had already been tracked for over a decade for the development of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other common health disorders. Stored genetic samples from each participant undergo a fully confidential "genome-wide scan" evaluating more than 317,000 potential genetic differences.


'/>"/>

Contact: Christina Roache
croache@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-6052
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
2. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
3. Study begins to reveal clues to the cause and progression of sepsis
4. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
5. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk
6. New study examines how rearing environment can alter navigation
7. Study links cat disease to flame retardants in furniture and to pet food
8. New continent and species discovered in Atlantic study
9. Study shows link between alcohol consumption and hiv disease progression
10. Feeling hot, hot, hot: New study suggests ways to control fever-induced seizures
11. Study finds environmental tests help predict hospital-acquired Legionnaires disease risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2016)... , February 3, 2016 ... market research report "Automated Fingerprint Identification System Market by ... Search), Application (Banking & Finance, Government, Healthcare, and Transportation) ... MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 21.0% between 2015 and 2020. The transformation and technology ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016  BioMEMS devices deployed in hospitals ... medical screening and diagnostic applications, such as ... that facilitate and assure continuous monitoring without ... being bolstered through new opportunities offered by ... coupled with wireless connectivity and low power ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 Technology Enhancements ... presents an analysis of the digital and computed radiography ... Malaysia , and Indonesia ... trends and market size, as well as regional market ... country and discusses market penetration and market attractiveness, both ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... LEXINGTON, Massachusetts , February 4, 2016 - New ... --> - New FDA action date of July ... date of July 22, 2016   - ... the U.S. in the past decade indicated for the treatment of signs and ... Lifitegrast has the potential to be the only product approved in the ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 4, 2016  CytoSorbents Corporation (NASDAQ: CTSO ... flagship CytoSorb® blood filter to treat deadly inflammation ... world, announced that CEO Dr. Phillip Chan ... Capital Group,s 2016 Disruptive Growth & Healthcare Conference, ... Conference Presentation Details: Where: Convene ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Feb. 4, 2016 Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ("Sinovac" ... provider of biopharmaceutical products in China ... board of directors received on February 4, 2016 a ... a consortium comprised of PKU V-Ming ( Shanghai ... Ltd., CICC Qianhai Development ( Shenzhen ) ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 2016  Discovery Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: DSCO ... KL4 surfactant therapies for respiratory diseases, today announced ... inducement award as a component of employment compensation ... President and Chief Executive Officer.  The award was ... 1, 2016 and granted as an inducement material ...
Breaking Biology Technology: