Aims: Assuming the importance of estrogen in perinatal physiology, we tested the association of an estrogen receptor-alpha (ER-alpha) gene Pvull pP polymorphism with perinatal morbidity in premature infants.
Methods: The ER-alpha Pp genotype was determined in 69 low-birth weight (LBW) boys and 72 LBW girls, 86 term boys and 81 term girls. The association between risk factors, genotype, gender and perinatal morbidity was tested with binary logistic regression analysis.
Results: Boys carrying “p” allele were at lower risk for necrotizing enterocolitis (OR [95% Cl]: 0.24 [0.07–0.83]) and patent ductus arteriosus (OR [95% Cl]: 0.24 [0.05–0.97]). The carrier state of the “p” allele was associated with a 34-h shorter period of oxygen supplementation on average (P=0.0018). Boys with pp genotype were at greater risk for intraventricular hemorrhage (OR [95% Cl]: 4.39 [1.15–16.82]). No association between ER-alpha Pvull polymorphism and morbidity was present in girls.
Conclusions: Since homozygocity for any Pvull alleles (i.e. having PP or pp genotype) increases the risk for at least one of the most common perinatal complications, it is likely that the heterozygous carrier state of Pvull genotypes has a protective effect, which is gender-dependent.