Objective: The aim of this study was to identify polymorphisms and gene-gene interactions that are significantly associated with age at menarche and age at menopause in a Korean population.
Methods: A total of 3,452 and 1,827 women participated in studies of age at menarche and age at natural menopause, respectively. Linear regression analyses adjusted for residence area were used to perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS), candidate gene association studies, and interactions between the candidate genes for age at menarche and age at natural menopause.
Results: In GWAS, four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; rs7528241, rs1324329, rs11597068, and rs6495785) were strongly associated with age at natural menopause (lowest P = 9.66 × 10−8). However, GWAS of age at menarche did not reveal any strong associations. In candidate gene association studies, SNPs with P < 0.01 were selected to test their synergistic interactions. For age at natural menopause, there was a significant interaction between intronic SNPs on ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospondin type I motif 9 (ADAMTS9) and SMAD family member 3 (SMAD3) genes (P = 9.52 × 10−5). For age at menarche, there were three significant interactions between three intronic SNPs on follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) gene and one SNP located at the 3′ flanking region of insulin-like growth factor 2 receptor (IGF2R) gene (lowest P = 1.95 × 10−5).
Conclusions: Novel SNPs and synergistic interactions between candidate genes are significantly associated with age at menarche and age at natural menopause in a Korean population.