Contribution of genetic backgrounds to the etiology of lumbar spondylosis has been suggested by epidemiological studies. This study was designed to determine the association of restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) of estrogen receptor (ER), vitamin D receptor (VDR), parathyroid hormone (PTH) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) genes with the radiological severity of lumbar spondylosis at the disk level from L1/2 to L5/S1 in Japanese post-menopausal women. ER and VDR RFLP haplotypes were associated with the severity of spondylosis in the upper levels (L1/2 and L2/3) more than in the lower levels. Association of ER genotype was more pronounced in the group younger than average than in the older group, while that of VDR genotype was more significant in the older group. Neither PTH nor IL1-beta RFLP was associated with the severity at any levels in either stratified group. We thus conclude that ER and VDR genes may contribute to lumbar spondylosis in a distinct manner: estrogen sensitivity influences the severity in the early phase after menopause while vitamin D plays an important role at older ages when the contribution of estrogen loss is weaker.