Genetic variants linked to early heart attack risk identified

February 9th, 2009 - 12:06 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 9 (ANI): Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have identified nine genetic variants associated with the risk of early heart attack.

In the largest study of genetic factors linked to heart attacks, the researchers have pinpointed nine genetic regions, including three previously unknown, that are likely to increase the risk for early-onset myocardial infarction.

“For several decades, it has been known that the risk for heart attack clusters in families and that some of this familial clustering is due to differences in DNA sequence,” Nature magazine quoted Dr Sekar Kathiresan, director of Preventive Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and corresponding study author, as saying.

“We set out to find specific, single-letter differences in the genome, what are called single-nucleotide polomorphisms (SNPs), that may be responsible for an increased familial risk for heart attack,” he added.

During the study, the researchers identified SNPs that could be associated with heart attack risk.

They found significant associations with the risk of early-onset heart attacks in nine genetic regions.

The team claimed that three of those associations with heart attack risk were identified for the first time.

“One of the known variants we identified is at a gene called PCSK9, which was originally identified in 2003,” Kathiresan said.

“Extensive study of that gene region has led to significant insight into the biology of atherosclerosis and heart attack and to efforts to develop targeted drugs, he added.

The findings appear in the journal Nature Genetics. (ANI)

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