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Genetics May Predict Vasomotor Symptoms in Menopause

THURSDAY, April 29, 2021 -- Genetic factors associated with aging of the reproductive system may be linked to hot flashes during the menopause transition, according to a study published online April 26 in Menopause.

Wei Zhao, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues evaluated whether previously identified genetic factors predictive of vasomotor symptoms (VMS), age at menarche, and age at menopause were associated with VMS in a multiracial/ethnic cohort (702 White, 306 Black, 126 Chinese, and 129 Japanese women participating in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation genomic substudy).

The researchers found that the C-allele of rs74827081 in TACR3 was associated with a reduced likelihood of frequent VMS in White women (odds ratio [OR], 0.49). Black women with higher menarche polygenic risk scores (later menarche) were less likely to report frequent VMS (OR, 0.55) and were less likely to have a persistently high VMS trajectory (OR, 0.55). White women were less likely to have a final menstrual period onset trajectory versus a persistently low trajectory (OR, 0.75). Frequent VMS was more likely among Chinese women with higher menopause polygenic risk scores (OR, 2.29). When excluding rs74827081 C-allele carriers, associations were similar.

"This study found that genetic factors associated with aging of the reproductive system may be linked to vasomotor symptoms during the menopause transition and differ across racial/ethnic groups," Stephanie Faubion, M.D., medical director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a statement. "These findings move us one step closer to being able to predict a woman's experience with menopause symptoms and, subsequently, to provide management recommendations based, in part, on her genetics. In addition, researchers may be able to use these specific genetic variations as targets for the development of new drugs to alleviate vasomotor symptoms."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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