Genetic polymorphisms, hormone levels, and hot flashes in midlife women

Chrissy Schilling, Lisa Gallicchio, Susan R. Miller, Patricia Langenberg, Howard Zacur, Jodi A. Flaws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Hot flashes disrupt the lives of millions of women each year. Although hot flashes are a public health concern, little is known about risk factors that predispose women to hot flashes. Thus, the objective of this study was to examine whether sex steroid hormone levels and genetic polymorphisms in hormone biosynthesis and degradation enzymes are associated with the risk of hot flashes. Methods: In a cross-sectional study design, midlife women aged 45-54 years (n = 639) were recruited from Baltimore and its surrounding counties. Participants completed a questionnaire and donated a blood sample for steroid hormone analysis and genotyping. The associations between genetic polymorphisms and hormone levels, as well as the associations between genetic polymorphisms, hormone levels, and hot flashes were examined using statistical models. Results: A polymorphism in CYP1B1 was associated with lower dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S) and progesterone levels, while a polymorphism in CYP19 (aromatase) was associated with higher testosterone and DHEA-S levels. Lower progesterone and sex hormone binding globulin levels, lower free estradiol index, and a higher ratio of total androgens to total estrogens were associated with the experiencing of hot flashes. A polymorphism in CYP1B1 and a polymorphism in 3βHSD were both associated with hot flashes. Conclusion: Some genetic polymorphisms may be associated with altered levels of hormones in midlife women. Further, selected genetic polymorphisms and altered hormone levels may be associated with the risk of hot flashes in midlife women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-131
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2007


  • Genetic polymorphisms
  • Hot flashes
  • Sex hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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