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Gene Variants Linked to Early Heart Attack Discovered

Two gene variations have been discovered by scientists at UCSF, Celera Genomics and The Cleveland Clinic which have been linked to an increased risk// for early heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI).

One of the genes, known as VAMP8, normally expresses a protein essential for early stages of clotting. When clotting occurs in a coronary blood vessel, it can lead to heart attack. Knowing gene mutations that increase heart attack risk can help identify people at risk and clarify molecular changes involved in heart disease. This knowledge can lead to new potential drug targets to treat the disease.

The research will be reported in the July 2006 edition of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology and is being made available online May 11, 2006 on the publication's website at http://atvb.ahajournals.org/.

A person with either of the two gene variants has about twice the risk of early heart attack as someone with neither, the research showed. The retrospective study analyzed clinical records and gene variations in more than 2,000 patients and controls in three independent investigations. All study participants were Caucasian, and the average age of heart attack among the cardiac patients was under 60.

Neither of the two genetic variants, known as single nucleotide polymorphisms or (SNPs), has previously been associated with heart attack. VAMP8 is involved in platelet aggregation. The other gene, HNRPUL1, encodes a protein involved in RNA activity.

Celera Genomics (NYSE:CRA) is an Applera Corporation business.

"This research and other large, carefully controlled studies can provide valuable insights into genetic contributions to early-onset heart attack," said John P. Kane, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at UCSF and associate director of UCSF's Cardiovascular Research Institute. "A number of studies have identified genes linked to increased heart attack risk, but many of the studies have been m
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