Aim: The goal of this study was to determine whether polymorphisms in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) genes are associated with variations of peak bone mineral density (BMD) and obesity phenotypes in young Chinese men.
Methods: A total of 1215 subjects from 400 Chinese nuclear families were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and allele-specific multiple PCR (ASM-PCR) analysis at the ApaI, FokI, and CDX2 sites in the VDR gene and the PvuII and XbaI sites in the ESR1 gene. BMD at the lumbar spine and hip, total fat mass, and total lean mass were measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The associations between VDR and ESR1 gene polymorphisms with peak BMD, body mass index (BMI), total fat mass, total lean mass, and percentage fat mass (PFM) were determined using quantitative transmission disequilibrium tests (QTDTs).
Results: Using QTDTs, no significant within-family associations were obtained between genotypes or haplotypes of the VDR and ESR1 genes and peak BMD. For the obesity phenotypes, the within-family associations were significant between CDX2 genotypes and BMI (P=0.046), fat mass (P=0.004), and PFM (P=0.020). Further, PvuII was significantly associated with the variation of fat mass and PFM (P=0.002 and P=0.039, respectively). A subsequent 1000 permutations were in agreement with these within-family association results.
Conclusion: Our findings showed that VDR and ESR1 polymorphisms were associated with total fat mass in young Chinese men, but we failed to find a significant association between VDR and ESR1 genotypes and peak BMD. These findings suggested that the VDR and ESR1 genes are quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying fat mass variation in young Chinese men.