Association of polymorphism of human α oestrogen receptor gene with coronary artery disease in men: a necropsy study

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 29 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:273
  1. Tarja A Kunnas (, research fellowa,
  2. Pekka Laippala, professorb,
  3. Antti Penttilä, professorc,
  4. Terho Lehtimäki, senior research fellowd,
  5. Pekka J Karhunen, professora
  1. a Department of Forensic Medicine, Medical School, FIN-33014 University of Tampere, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
  2. b School of Public Health, FIN-33014 University of Tampere
  3. c Department of Forensic Medicine, PO Box 40, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  4. d Laboratory of Atherosclerosis Genetics, Department of Clinical Chemistry, FIN-33014 University of Tampere
  1. Correspondence to: T A Kunnas
  • Accepted 14 April 2000

The higher oestrogen concentrations in women have been suggested as the reason for their slower development of atherosclerosis compared with men. Oestrogen receptors have been located on macrophages, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells in women and men, but it is not known whether the protective effect at the level of the arterial wall is mediated by these receptors. It has been reported that premenopausal women have fewer α oestrogen receptors in atherosclerotic than in normal coronary arteries.1 The gene for human α oestrogen receptor contains a polymorphism in the regulatory (upstream) region of the gene: this polymorphism consists of a dinucleotide (thymine and adenine) repeat, the length of which has been associated with bone mineral density, suggesting an effect on oestrogen receptor transcription.2 This prompted us to study whether this polymorphism is associated with coronary artery disease in men.

Subjects, methods, and results

The associations of the polymorphism with atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction were studied in the Helsinki sudden death study, a prospective …

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