Based on the fact that the klotho-deficient mouse exhibits multiple aging phenotypes, including osteopenia and subchondral sclerosis of joints, we explored the possibility of whether human klotho gene polymorphism is associated with two major age-related skeletal disorders: osteoporosis and spondylosis. Analysis of the CA repeat sequence downstream of the final exon of the klotho gene identified ten types of alleles in Japanese postmenopausal women (n = 377). We investigated the association of this microsatellite polymorphism with bone density and spondylosis score of the lumbar spine. None of the genotypes was associated with bone density in the overall population (n = 377; 754 alleles) nor in the subpopulation at not more than 10 years after menopause (<or=10 years, n = 131; 262 alleles). However, the type 5 allele was significantly associated with low bone density in aged subpopulations at 10-20 years after menopause (n = 144; 288 alleles, p = 0.035) and >20 years after menopause (n = 102; 204 alleles, p = 0.024). The type 7 allele was associated with high bone density in women more than 20 years after menopause (p = 0.042). The association study with spondylosis of postmenopausal women (n = 221) revealed that another distinct allele, type 8, was significantly associated with low spondylosis score at L-4/5 (p = 0.019) and L-5/S-1 (p = 0.048) levels in the subpopulation equal to or younger than the average age (<or=63 years old, n = 119; 238 alleles), but not in the older subpopulation. These findings indicate that the klotho gene may be a candidate for the genetic regulation of common age-related diseases like osteoporosis and spondylosis, and we provide the first evidence suggesting that this gene may be involved in the etiology of human diseases.