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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2002 Nov 29;197(1-2):15-21.

The role of vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms in bone biology.

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Genomic Laboratory Room Ee575, Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus University Medical School, Dr. Molewaterplein 50, PO Box 1738, GD-3015 Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The role of vitamin D and its receptor (VDR) in skeletal metabolism is well known but the vitamin D endocrine system seems to play an important role in other metabolic pathways as well, such as those involved in osteoarthritis, the immune response and cancer. One approach to understand the vitamin D endocrine system is to study the influence of variations in the DNA sequence of important proteins of this system. For example, deleterious mutations in the VDR gene cause 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-resistant rickets, a rare monogenetic disease. More subtle sequence variations (polymorphisms) in the VDR gene occur much more frequently but their effects are poorly understood. Their influence on the vitamin D endocrine system is currently under scrutiny in relation to a number of so-called complex diseases and traits such as osteoporosis. The interpretation of polymorphic variations in the VDR gene is severely hindered by the fact that several of the polymorphisms used have unknown effects. However, current data indicate that dozens of additional polymorphic variations exist in the VDR gene that could each have different types of consequences. Therefore, efforts are focussed on finding novel sequence variations and to study their interaction in molecular- and cell-biological experiments as well as in genomic epidemiological studies. The ultimate goal of this approach is to identify the combinations of functional sequence variants that modulate the vitamin D endocrine system and confer risk of disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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