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PLoS Genet. 2006 Jul;2(7):e107.

Lymphotoxin-alpha gene and risk of myocardial infarction in 6,928 cases and 2,712 controls in the ISIS case-control study.

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  • 1Clinical Trial Service Unit, Old Road Campus, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Lymphotoxin-alpha (LTA) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays an important role in the immune system and local inflammatory response. LTA is expressed in atherosclerotic plaques and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease (CHD). Polymorphisms in the gene encoding lymphotoxin-alpha (LTA) on Chromosome 6p21 have been associated with susceptibility to CHD, but results in different studies appear to be conflicting. We examined the association of seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the LTA gene, and their related haplotypes, with risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in the International Study of Infarct Survival (ISIS) case-control study involving 6,928 non-fatal MI cases and 2,712 unrelated controls. The seven SNPs (including the rs909253 and rs1041981 SNPs previously implicated in the risk of CHD) were in strong linkage disequilibrium with each other and contributed to six common haplotypes. Some of the haplotypes for LTA were associated with higher plasma concentrations of C-reactive protein (p = 0.004) and lower concentrations of albumin (p = 0.023). However, none of the SNPs or related haplotypes were significantly associated with risk of MI. The results of the ISIS study were considered in the context of six previously published studies that had assessed this association, and this meta-analysis found no significant association with CHD risk using a recessive model and only a modest association using a dominant model (with narrow confidence intervals around these risk estimates). Overall, these studies provide reliable evidence that these common polymorphisms for the LTA gene are not strongly associated with susceptibility to coronary disease.

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