Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds genetic links to age of first menstrual period and menopause

19.05.2009
May add to prevention efforts against cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease

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.

"Genome-wide association studies identify loci associated with age at menarche and at natural menopause," Chunyan He, Peter Kraft, Constance Chen, Julie Buring, Guillaume Pare´, Susan Hankinson, Stephen Chanock, Paul Ridker, David Hunter, and Daniel Chasman, Nature Genetics, online May 17, 2009, http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/index.html

The Women's Genome Health Study (WGHS) is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Cancer Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and the Fondation Leducq, with collaborative scientific support and funding for genotyping provided by Amgen. The Nurses' Health Study (NHS) is supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NHS genome-wide association study was performed as part of the Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility initiative of the NCI.

Visit the HSPH website for the latest news ( http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/ ), press releases ( http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/ ) and multimedia offerings ( http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/multimedia/ ).

Harvard School of Public Health ( http://www.hsph.harvard.edu ) is dedicated to advancing the public's health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children's health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights.

Christina Roache | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
22.08.2017 | National University Health System

nachricht Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>