September 27, 2011

Genes Play Role in Coronary Artery Disease

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Could your genes prevent coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attack? Scientists are saying yes.

About 13 million people in the United States have coronary artery disease. It is the number one killer of both men and women. Now, an international consortium of scientists are reporting the discovery of five new genes that affect the risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attacks.

According to the study the identification of the roles of various genes in the onset of heart disease could help in the development of new treatments and improve prediction of CAD. The study also demonstrated that some associations between genes and CAD, suggested by other, smaller studies, are spurious, according to Dr. Adam Butterworth, who coordinated the analysis.

The consortium examined 49,094 genetic variants in 2,100 genes of cardiovascular relevance in 15,596 CAD cases and 34,992 controls (11,202 cases and 30,733 controls of European descent, and 4,394 cases and 4,259 controls of South Asian origin) and replicated their principal findings in an additional 17,121 CAD cases and 40,473 controls.

"This is one of the first genetic studies of CAD to include a significant proportion of subjects of South Asian origin, an ethnic group that has a higher risk of CAD. Our study shows that many of the genes that affect risk of CAD do so similarly in European Caucasians as in South Asians,” Professor John Danesh, co-principal investigator was quoted saying.

The study adds over 30 genes which affect risk of CAD and heart attacks. "The findings provide new insights into and understanding of the causal biological pathways that cause heart disease, and particularly highlight the role of lipids and inflammation," Professor Nilesh Samani, the co-principal investigator from the British Heart Foundation was quoted saying.
Although the effects of the new genetic variants that we have identified are individually small, in the order of 5-10% per copy, new treatments that are developed on the basis of the findings could have a much broader effect, as we have learnt, for example, with statins," Professor Hugh Watkins from British Heart Foundation was quoted saying.

SOURCE: PLoS Genetics, September 2011