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Researchers identify novel genetic markers linked to increased risk of heart attack
Date:2/17/2009

A key finding is that the MI risk is more than twice as great in individuals who carry not only one but several of the genetic markers. Three studies on genetic markers and MI risk have now been published in the current online issue of the renowned journal Nature Genetics.

In a large-scale study coordinated by the University of Lbeck, German, European and American researchers succeeded in identifying novel genetic markers associated with MI. Two institutes of Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen the Institute of Epidemiology (director: Prof. Dr. Dr. H. Erich Wichmann) and the Institute of Human Genetics (director: Prof. Dr. Thomas Meitinger) - were also involved in the study. The scientists performed a genome-wide scan of thousands of patients with hundreds of thousands of genetic markers. Included in the studies were MI patients from the KORA study (director: Dr. Christine Meisinger) as well as healthy control persons from the population.

"The future challenge for us will be to integrate the insights we have gained about genetic factors and lifestyle factors in order to provide effective preventive measures for the population," said Prof. Dr. Annette Peters, research group leader at Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen.

The first of the three studies investigated a million genetic markers in 1,200 MI patients and the same number of healthy test persons. Subsequent control studies on an additional 25,000 patients and healthy persons confirmed the initial suspicion: Culprit genes for MI are located on chromosomes 3 and 12. Scientists suspect that one of these genes, the MRAS gene, plays an important role in cardiovascular biology. The second gene, the HNF1A gene, is closely associated with cholesterol metabolism.

What is special about the second study is that it not only investigated individual genetic markers as to their influence on the risk of myocardial infarction, but also investigated haplotypes, combinations of up to ten neighboring ma
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Contact: Sven Winkler
presse@helmholtz-muenchen.de
49-893-187-3946
Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen - German Research Center for Environmental Health
Source:Eurekalert

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