Gene Variants Linked to Hot Flashes in Women Who Smoke

Smoking plus genetic variants in sex steroid metabolism impact hot flash frequency, severity

FRIDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Variants in genes that metabolize sex steroids are associated with a greater frequency or severity of hot flashes in older women who smoke, according to a study published online March 30 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Samantha F. Butts, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined whether single nucleotide polymorphisms in five genes for sex steroid-metabolizing enzymes affected the occurrence of hot flashes in 296 late reproductive-aged women.

The researchers found that, compared with nonsmokers, European-American smokers who were double-variant carriers of COMT Val158Met were more likely to have hot flashes (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 6.15), and heavy smokers had more frequent moderate or severe hot flashes (aOR, 13.7). European-American smokers who were double-variant carriers of CYP 1B1*3 reported more frequent moderate or severe hot flashes than nonsmokers and never-smokers (aOR, 20.6 and 20.59, respectively). Smoking African-American women who were single-variant carriers of CYP 1A2 were more likely to report hot flashes, compared with nonsmoking carriers (aOR, 6.16).

"This is the first report demonstrating the effects of smoking within the strata of gene variants involved in sex steroid metabolism on hot flashes in late reproductive-age women," Butts and colleagues conclude.

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