MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Carolyn J. Crandall, MD, MS, FACP
Professor of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Scientists have suspected that genes may contribute to the risk of getting hot flashes and night sweats, but studies so far have been few in number and only focused on small parts of the human gene code (for example, the gene coding for estrogen receptors). No study has ever comprehensively sampled gene variations that span the entire human genome to look for associations between genetic variation and risk of hot flashes and night sweats.
This was the first study of its kind, performed in more than 17.000 postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Study. We examined 11,078,977 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, which are gene variants, in a genome-wide association study.
Our main results were that 14 gene variants (SNPs) that were significantly associated with increased risk of having hot flashes. All of these variants were located in chromosome 4, in the gene that codes for the tachykinin receptor 3.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We have identified an area of the human genome where genetic variants may contribute to the risk of hot flashes. This could ultimately lead to innovative therapies and also a better understanding of the biology of what causes hot flashes.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We have to replicate these findings by performing a genome-wide association study (sampling across the whole genome) in another population of women. We have also do sequencing of the tachykinin receptor 3 gene in another population of women to determine how these gene variants are actually influencing hot flashes, in order to get at the exact mechanisms. Future studies in mice targeting the tachykinin receptor 3 gene will also add valuable information.
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Crandall C., et al “Association of genetic variation in the tachykinin receptor 3 locus with hot flashes and night sweats in the Women’s Health Initiative Study”Menopause 2016; DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000763.
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