The pathogenesis of osteoporosis involves both genetic and environmental factors. On the basis of linkage data suggesting gene effects on bone density at chromosome 14q and data locating the BMP4 gene to 14q, we performed a positional candidate study to examine a possible association of BMP4 gene polymorphisms, hip bone density (n = 1012) and fracture rates (n = 1232) in postmenopausal women (mean age 75).On genotype analysis of the three selected single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), the 6007C > T polymorphism was associated with total and intertrochanteric hip BMD and BMD was lower in the 32% of subjects homozygous for the C allele. This polymorphism codes for a nonsynonymous amino acid change with the T allele coding for valine, while the C allele codes for alanine. The difference in BMD was 3.1% (TT vs. CC) and 2.3% (CT versus CC) for the total hip (P = 0.023), and 3.7% (TT vs. CC) and 2.8% (CT versus CC) for the intertrochanter site (P = 0.012). Haplotype analysis demonstrated 6 haplotypes of frequency greater than 2%. A major haplotype defined by G-C-T alleles in SNPs -5826G > A, 3564C > T and 6007C > T respectively, showed association with high bone mass. No SNP showed association with fracture rates.We conclude that a polymorphism, found in the BMP4 gene, affecting amino acid sequence, is associated with hip bone density in postmenopausal women, presumably via regulation of anabolic effects on the skeleton. (c) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.