Genome-Wide Association Study of Estradiol Levels, and the C
Estradiol is the primary female sex hormone and plays an important role for skeletal health in both sexes. Several enzymes are involved in estradiol metabolism but few genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been performed to characterize the genetic contribution to variation in estrogen levels.

This study aimed to identify genetic loci affecting estradiol levels and estimate causal effect of estradiol on bone mineral density (BMD).

Researchers performed GWAS for estradiol in males (N = 147,690) and females (N = 163,985) from UK Biobank (UKB). Estradiol was analyzed as a binary phenotype; above/below detection limit (175 pmol/L). They further estimated the causal effect of estradiol on BMD using Mendelian randomization.

-- They identified 14 independent loci associated (P<5x10 -8) with estradiol levels in males, of which one (CYP3A7) was genome-wide and seven nominally significant in females.

-- In addition, one female specific locus was identified. Most loci contain functionally relevant genes that have not been discussed in relation to estradiol levels in previous GWAS.

-- For example, SRD5A2, which encodes a steroid 5-alpha reductase that is involved in processing androgens, and UGT3A1 and UGT2B7 which encode enzymes likely to be involved in estradiol elimination.

-- The allele that tags the O blood group, at the ABO locus, was associated with higher estradiol levels.

-- They identified a causal effect of high estradiol levels on increased BMD in both males and females.

Conclusively, these findings further support the importance of the body's own estrogen to maintain skeletal health in males and in females.