Can a genetic variation in the vitamin D receptor protect against osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, or reduced bone mineral density that can increase the risk of fractures, may affect as many as 30% of women and 12% of men worldwide. One risk factor for osteoporosis is vitamin D deficiency. A modified form of the vitamin D receptor present in some individuals may lower their risk for developing osteoporosis, according to an article in Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers.
To act on cells in the body, vitamin D binds to a specific receptor on the surface of cells. A variation in the gene for the vitamin D receptor (called the Bsm I polymorphism) may change this interaction. In the article, "Vitamin D Receptor BSM I Polymorphism and Osteoporosis Risk: A Meta-Analysis from 26 Studies," authors Fu Jia and colleagues, Kunming Medical University and Yunnan University of Chinese Traditional Medicine, Yunnan, People's Republic of China, report that people with this genetic variation appear to have a significantly decreased risk of developing osteoporosis.
"This meta-analysis provides a pathway to help determine the likelihood that a person may develop osteoporosis and is a good example for the potential application of genetics to clinical medicine," says Kenneth I. Berns, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers, and Director of the University of Florida's Genetics Institute, College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL.