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New genetic variants associated with lipid levels, risk for coronary artery disease
Date:1/13/2008

a large effect, says Karen L. Mohlke, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who co-directed the study with Gonalo R. Abecasis, Ph.D., of the University of Michigans School of Public Health.

To determine if the genetic variants associated with lipid levels also influence risk of heart disease, the researchers compared their results with results from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortiums recent genome-wide association study of CAD involving 15,000 British individuals. They found that all gene variants associated with increased LDL levels also were more prevalent among people with CAD. People with the gene variant for high triglyceride levels also had an increased risk for CAD, although the relationship was not as strong. No relationship was found between HDL and CAD.

It was surprising that while it was clear that genetic variants that increase your bad cholesterol are also associated with increased risk of heart disease, we did not find that variants influencing your good cholesterol were associated with decreased risk of coronary artery disease. Perhaps that result will lead us to re-examine the roles of good and bad cholesterol in susceptibility to heart disease, remarks Abecasis.

Identifying a correlation among genes influencing lipid levels and risk for coronary heart disease is a first step in a long path to potentially important clinical implications. What were looking for, ultimately, are novel therapeutics and/or life-style modifications that can be recommended to individuals to help manage blood lipid levels and reduce risk of heart disease, says David Schlessinger, Ph.D., chief of the NIAs Laboratory of Genetics and NIA Project Officer for SardiNIA.

This study also demonstrates the power of international collaboration in genetic analyses. None of the studies that cooperated to make this work possible were large enough to find all of these important associations alone. By working together, pre
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Contact: Megan Homer
nianews3@mail.nih.gov
301-496-1752
NIH/National Institute on Aging
Source:Eurekalert

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