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Multinational deCODE Study Identifies New Link Between Inflammation and Heart Attack
Date:2/9/2009

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, February 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a paper published today, scientists at deCODE genetics (Nasdaq: DCGN) and academic colleagues from four continents present a novel insight into the connection between inflammation and heart disease. Through a genome-wide search in some 10,000 Icelanders, the deCODE team discovered several common single-letter variations in the sequence of the human genome (SNPs) that increase levels of eosinophils in the bloodstream. These are a type of white blood cell that fights parasite infection and mediates inflammation. One of these SNPs, located on chromsome 12q24, was then shown to confer increased risk of heart attack through analysis of the genomes of more than 46,000 patients and controls from Iceland, New Zealand, Italy, and the United States. Given the established role of eosinophils in asthma, the deCODE team also analyzed the eosinophil SNPs in more than 50,000 asthmatics and healthy control subjects from the countries above as well as from Germany, Sweden, Australia, and South Korea. A SNP on chromosome 2q12 was associated with increased risk of asthma, and three other SNPs were associated with risk of atopic asthma.

"This is a great example of how our population data and approach enable us to examine complex questions from multiple vantage points. There is broad interest in the connection between inflammation and cardiovascular disease, and our own discoveries on chromosome 9p21 and in the leukotriene pathway have helped to drive this interest. And in today's work, we started by identifying genetic variants involved in a known inflammatory process and then went on to demonstrate that some of those variants were also risk factors for both heart attack and asthma. These discoveries may be used both in drug discovery and to build out our tools for DNA-based risk assess
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SOURCE deCODE genetics Inc
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