Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), hot flashes, and night sweats are cardinal symptoms of the menopausal transition. Little is known about genetic influences on VMS. This study evaluated whether previously identified genetic factors predictive of VMS, age at menarche, and age at menopause were associated with VMS in a multiracial/ethnic cohort.
For 702 White, 306 Black, 126 Chinese, and 129 Japanese women from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Genomic Substudy, we created polygenic risk scores (PRSs) from genome-wide association studies of VMS and ages at menarche and menopause. PRSs and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from a previously identified VMS locus (tachykinin receptor 3 [TACR3]) were evaluated for associations with frequent VMS (VMS ≥6 days in the past 2 weeks at any visit) and with VMS trajectories (persistently low, early onset, final menstrual period onset, persistently high).
The C-allele of rs74827081 in TACR3 was associated with reduced likelihood of frequent VMS in White women (odds ratio [OR] = 0.49 [95% CI, 0.29-0.83]). With higher menarche PRS (later menarche), Black women were less likely (OR = 0.55 [95% CI, 0.38-0.78]) to report frequent VMS. With higher PRS for age at menarche, Black women were also less likely to have a persistently high VMS trajectory (OR = 0.55 [95% CI, 0.34-0.91]), whereas White women (OR = 0.75 [95% CI, 0.58-0.98]) were less likely to have a final menstrual period onset trajectory (vs persistently low). Chinese women with higher menopause PRS were more likely to have frequent VMS (OR = 2.29 [95% CI, 1.39-3.78]). Associations were substantively similar after excluding rs74827081 C-allele carriers.
Genetic factors predictive of reproductive aging are also associated with VMS, suggesting that VMS have a polygenic architecture. Further study in this area may help to identify new targets for novel VMS therapies.