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J Orthop Res. 2006 Aug;24(8):1722-8.

Endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene polymorphisms in patients with nontraumatic femoral head osteonecrosis.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.


As endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) has beneficial effects on skeletal, vascular, and thrombotic systems, the association between nontraumatic femoral head osteonecrosis (FHON) and eNOS gene polymorphisms was investigated in Korean patients with FHON. Genomic DNA from 103 patients with nontraumatic FHON (idiopathic in 50, steroid-induced in 29, and alcohol abuse in 24) and 103 control subjects matched for gender and age (3-year range) was analyzed for the 27-bp repeat polymorphism in intron 4 and Glu298Asp polymorphism in exon 7. The frequencies of alleles and genotypes were compared between patients and control subjects. The frequency of 4a allele was significantly higher in total patients than control subjects [6.8% vs. 2.4%, p = 0.0345, odds ratio (OR) 2.931]. In subgroup analysis, the 4a allele significantly increased in patients with idiopathic FHON versus control subjects (9.0% vs. 2.4%, p = 0.0297, OR 3.976). The frequency of the 4a/b genotype in total patients (13.6% vs. 4.9%, p = 0.0302, OR 3.083) as well as patients with idiopathic FHON (18.0% vs. 4.9%, p = 0.0246, OR 4.302) was higher than control subjects. The distribution of Glu298Asp polymorphisms was not significantly different between patients and control subjects. Microstellate polymorphism in intron 4 of eNOS polymorphism was significantly associated with idiopathic FHON in Korean patients. Because 4a allele is associated with lower synthesis of eNOS, these results suggest that carrier state of 4a allele in intron 4 might be a genetic risk factor of FHON and could provide insight into the protective role of nitric oxide in the pathogenesis of FHON.

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