African Americans More Likely To Bear Genotypes Associated With MI Risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - African Americans are more likely than European Americans to have genetic polymorphisms associated with an increased myocardial infarction risk, according to a report in the July Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"This is not yet reality but one could easily imagine a panel of genetic variants that would help predict risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), or risk of events in those with known CAD," Dr. David E. Lanfear from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri told Reuters Health.

"Genetic variants could be seen as yet another biomarker that may be helpful in diagnosing and treating patients, much like other more familiar examples, such as brain natriuretic peptide, C-reactive protein," and others, he said.

Dr. Lanfear and colleagues genotyped DNA from 95 healthy African Americans and 95 healthy European Americans for single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 3 genes identified in Japanese subjects as showing significant correlations to myocardial infarctions.

The risk-associated genotypes for stromelysin-1 (MMP-3) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) were significantly more common in African Americans than in European Americans, the authors report.

Moreover, homozygosity for at least 2 high-risk alleles was far more common among African Americans (51.1%) than among European Americans (3.3%), the report indicates.

Eight African Americans (9.1%) were homozygous for all three high-risk alleles (MMP-3, PAI-1, and connexin-37 (GJA-4)), the researchers note, whereas no European American in the study was homozygous for all three high-risk alleles.

"That there is likely to be a not yet identified genetic component to risk needs further investigation," Dr. Lanfear said, "because it may explain observed racial differences in risk, as well as allowing more precise prognostication and therapy for patients with CAD."

"We have ongoing studies examining patients in a large multicenter ACS registry in which we will be connecting these and other variants to clinical outcomes in both African Americans and European Americans," Dr. Lanfear concluded. "This will help determine if there is predictive value to these variants for those with established CAD."

Source: J Am Coll Cardiol 2004;44:165-167. [ Google search on this article ]

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