Evidence for an association of methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase polymorphism C677T and an increased risk of fractures: results from a population-based Danish twin study
Twin studies indicate a substantial genetic component in the development of osteoporosis. One of the latest studied candidate genes is the one coding for methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) (C677T) in which a point mutation gives rise to a thermolabile variant of MTHFR. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of this mutation on peripheral measures of bone density and on the odds ratios (OR) for hip and lower forearm fracture in a case control study of Danish postmenopausal women. A total of 74 women with lower forearm fracture, 41 women with hip fracture, and 207 age-matched controls were included. All had broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) and speed of sound (SOS) measured at the heel as well as bone mineral density (BMD) measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry at the distal forearm. The MTHFR (C677T) genotypes were determined using polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). Only 2 of 21 individuals with the TT genotype had sustained a fracture as opposed to 46 of 142 with the CT genotype and 67 of 159 with the CC genotype (P = 0.007). Using logistic regression, the following odds ratios were found when comparing the individuals homozygotic for the C-allele with those homozygotic for the T-allele: lower forearm fracture OR = 3.93 (1.25; 12.40, P = 0.02), hip fracture OR = 6.99 (l.35; 36.92, P = 0.02) and the fractures combined OR = 4.33 (1.73; 10.81, P = 0.002). In this study, the MTHFR (C677T) genotypes were not significantly associated with BMD at the lower forearm or with ultrasound parameters measured at the calcaneus. However, a significant increase in the odds ratio of fracture was found for the wild-type C-allele.