Chemokine (C-C-motif) receptor 3 (CCR3), playing an important role in endometrium related metabolic pathways, may influence the onset of menarche. To test linkage and/or association between CCR3 polymorphisms with the variation of age at menarche (AAM) in Caucasian females, we recruited a sample of 1,048 females from 354 Caucasian nuclear families and genotyped 16 SNPs spanning the entire CCR3 gene. Linkage disequilibrium and haplotype blocks were inferred by Haploview. Both single-SNP markers and haplotypes were tested for linkage and/or association with AAM using QTDT (quantitative transmission disequilibrium test). We also tested associations between CCR3 polymorphisms and AAM in a selected random sample of daughters using ANOVA (analysis of variance). We identified two haplotype blocks. Only block two showed significant results. After correction for multiple testing, significant total associations of SNP7, SNP9 with AAM were detected (P = 0.009 and 0.006, respectively). We also detected significant within-family association of SNP9 (P = 0.01). SNP14 was linked to AAM (P = 0.02) at the nominal level. In addition, there was evidence of significant total association and nominal significant linkage (P = 0.008 and 0.03, respectively) with AAM for the haplotype AGA reconstructed by SNP7, SNP9 and SNP13. ANOVA confirmed the results by QTDT. For the first time we reported that CCR3 is linked and associated with AAM variation in Caucasian women. However, further studies are necessary to substantiate our conclusions.
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