Associations between common variation in the aromatase gene promoter region and testosterone concentrations in two young female populations.
The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology 2005 ; 98: 199-206.
PubMed ID : 16473000
We recently reported association between a coding-region single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP50) in the aromatase gene that encodes a key enzyme in testosterone metabolism, with risk for the development of precocious pubarche and circulating testosterone concentrations in two independent female populations. We have now explored further association with variation in the promoter-region of the aromatase gene. We genotyped six promoter-region haplotype-tag SNPs in young women from Oxford, UK (n = 109), and in girls with precocious pubarche (n = 186) and controls (n = 71) from Barcelona, Spain. Aromatase distal promoter-region variation was associated with plasma testosterone concentrations in both Oxford (r(2) = 18.3%, p = 0.01) and Barcelona (r(2) = 8.5%, p = 0.03) females. These associations were independent of SNP50, but appeared to be dependent on different SNPs in Oxford (r(2) = 13.7%, p = 0.006 with SNPs 11 (p = 0.009), 28 (p = 0.02) and 39 (p = 0.06)) and Barcelona (r(2) = 5.9%, p = 0.002 with SNP43 (p = 0.002)) populations. Aromatase distal promoter-region variation was also associated with PCOS symptom score in Oxford women (r(2) = 14.5%, p = 0.048), but, unlike SNP50, was not associated with precocious pubarche risk in Barcelona girls. In conclusion, aromatase distal promoter-region variation appears to have functional consequences for plasma testosterone concentrations in females. The variable associations with androgen-related clinical features could possibly reflect the tissue-specific promoters of the aromatase gene.