Difference in Height Associated with a Translation Start Site Polymorphism in the Vitamin D Receptor Gene1

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The function of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in bone development is to regulate the differentiation or proliferation of osteoblastic, osteoclastic, and chondrocytic lineage, affecting bone mineralization and linear bone growth. An A(T/C)G substitution exists in the first of the two putative translation initiation sites in exon 2 of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene. We studied the relationship between exon 2 polymorphism and height in 90 healthy Japanese female subjects aged 18-20 y, who had attained final height, in 159 healthy Japanese aged 13 y, and 24 children with constitutional short stature aged 6-10 y less than -1.5 SD in height, mostly with parents of normal height. Exon 2 polymorphism was analyzed by PCR-single strand conformation polymorphism, PCR-direct sequencing, and PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. The frequency of the exon 2 polymorphism was genotype CC (ACG/ACG), 0.37; genotype CT (ACG/ATG), 0.51; and genotype TT (ATG/ATG), 0.12 in 249 normal subjects. The mean height of female subjects aged 18-20 y with the genotype CT was 160.3 ± 4.3 cm (mean ± SD), whereas that with CC was 4.4 cm lower (p < 0.0001), and that with TT was 2.7 cm lower (p = 0.0302). At age 13 y, this trend was observed, and the mean height SD score of subjects with the genotype CT was taller than homozygotes (CC/CT; p = 0.0363 and CT/TT; p = 0.0208) in 159 subjects. Genotype CT in 24 children with constitutional short stature was less frequent than other genotypes (CC, 0.62; CT, 0.21; TT. 0.17) (χ2p value, 0.0171). In conclusion, the exon 2 polymorphism affecting the VDR mRNA and protein is one of the major determinants of adult height at least in female Japanese, which was noted at the age of 13 y examined in both sexes.

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