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

rkers. With this method additional genetic information can be derived compared to individual genetic markers. Thus the scientists were able to identify another region, this time localized on chromosome 6, which is associated with MI risk. The LPA gene at this locus regulates the concentration of a specific lipoprotein (Lp(a)), a particle which transports lipids in the blood. This finding, too, may be useful in the future for developing new therapeutic interventions.

The third study, published in the name of the Myocardial Infarction Genetics Consortium (MIGen), was able to identify three further, previously unknown MI genes on chromosomes 2, 6 and 21. The study also shows that in individuals with not just one but several genetic markers, the MI risk is more than double. The higher the number of disease genes now identified, the higher the disease risk. This knowledge will aid in assessing the risk for myocardial infarction in order to develop preventive and early intervention strategies.

More than 750,000 people die of myocardial infarction in Europe every year. MI and the underlying coronary artery disease are among the most frequent causes of death in Germany. Besides traditional risk factors such as age, hypertension, disorders of the lipid metabolism, diabetes mellitus, smoking and overweight, genetic risk factors play a key role in the emergence of the disease.

These studies provide crucial pieces to the at present incomplete puzzle of myocardial infarction genetics. The findings indicate that there may be many mechanisms involved in myocardial infarction that are still to be discovered. New mechanisms also mean new approaches for MI prevention and treatment. Further studies are needed to elucidate this in detail.


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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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