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Scientists find shared genetic link between the dental disease periodontitis and heart attack
Date:5/25/2009

Vienna, Austria: The relationship between the dental disease periodontitis and coronary heart disease (CHD) has been known for several years. Although a genetic link seemed likely, until now its existence was uncertain. Now, for the first time, scientists have discovered a genetic relationship between the two conditions, a researcher told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics today (Monday 25 May).

Dr. Arne Schaefer, of the Institute for Clinical Molecular Biology, University of Kiel, Germany, said that his team had discovered a genetic variant situated on chromosome 9 which was shared between the two diseases. "We studied a genetic locus on chromosome 9p21.3 that had previously been identified to be associated with myocardial infarction, in a group of 151 patients suffering from the most aggressive, early-onset forms of periodontitis, and a group of 1097 CHD patients who had already had a heart attack. The genetic variation associated with the clinical pictures of both diseases was identical," he said. The scientists went on to verify the association in further groups of 1100 CHD patients and 180 periodontitis patients.

"We found that the genetic risk variant is located in a genetic region that codes for an antisense DNA called ANRIL", said Dr. Schaefer, "and that it is identical for both diseases."

When a gene is ready to produce a protein, the two strands of DNA in the gene unravel. One strand produces messenger RNA, and will express a protein. Antisense RNA is complementary to the mRNA, and is often carried by the reverse strand, the 'anti-sense' strand of the DNA double helix. This strand does not encode for a protein, but can bind specifically to the messenger RNA to form a duplex. Through this binding, the antisense strand inhibits the protein expression of the mRNA .

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and periodontitis, which leads to the loss of co
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
European Society of Human Genetics
Source:Eurekalert

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