Population-based estimates of the prevalence of FMR1 expansion mutations in women with early menopause and primary ovarian insufficiency

Anna Murray, Minouk J Schoemaker, Claire E Bennett, Sarah Ennis, James N Macpherson, Michael Jones, Danielle H Morris, Nick Orr, Alan Ashworth, Patricia A Jacobs, Anthony J Swerdlow

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PURPOSE: Primary ovarian insufficiency before the age of 40 years affects 1% of the female population and is characterized by permanent cessation of menstruation. Genetic causes include FMR1 expansion mutations. Previous studies have estimated mutation prevalence in clinical referrals for primary ovarian insufficiency, but these are likely to be biased as compared with cases in the general population. The prevalence of FMR1 expansion mutations in early menopause (between the ages of 40 and 45 years) has not been published.

METHODS: We studied FMR1 CGG repeat number in more than 2,000 women from the Breakthrough Generations Study who underwent menopause before the age of 46 years. We determined the prevalence of premutation (55-200 CGG repeats) and intermediate (45-54 CGG repeats) alleles in women with primary ovarian insufficiency (n = 254) and early menopause (n = 1,881).

RESULTS: The prevalence of the premutation was 2.0% in primary ovarian insufficiency, 0.7% in early menopause, and 0.4% in controls, corresponding to odds ratios of 5.4 (95% confidence interval = 1.7-17.4; P = 0.004) for primary ovarian insufficiency and 2.0 (95% confidence interval = 0.8-5.1; P = 0.12) for early menopause. Combining primary ovarian insufficiency and early menopause gave an odds ratio of 2.4 (95% confidence interval = 1.02-5.8; P = 0.04). Intermediate alleles were not significant risk factors for either early menopause or primary ovarian insufficiency.

CONCLUSION: FMR1 premutations are not as prevalent in women with ovarian insufficiency as previous estimates have suggested, but they still represent a substantial cause of primary ovarian insufficiency and early menopause.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalGenetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics
Issue number1
Early online date23 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Menopause, Premature
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
  • Prospective Studies
  • Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion
  • United Kingdom
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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