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PLoS One. 2008 Jun 25;3(6):e2533. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002533.

The M235T polymorphism in the AGT gene and CHD risk: evidence of a Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium violation and publication bias in a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



The M235T polymorphism in the AGT gene has been related to an increased risk of hypertension. This finding may also suggest an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).


A case-cohort study was conducted in 1,732 unrelated middle-age women (210 CHD cases and 1,522 controls) from a prospective cohort of 15,236 initially healthy Dutch women. We applied a Cox proportional hazards model to study the association of the polymorphism with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) (n = 71) and CHD. In the case-cohort study, no increased risk for CHD was found under the additive genetic model (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.86 to 1.68; P = 0.28). This result was not changed by adjustment (HR = 1.17; 95% CI, 0.83 to 1.64; P = 0.38) nor by using dominant, recessive and pairwise genetic models. Analyses for AMI risk under the additive genetic model also did not show any statistically significant association (crude HR = 1.14; 95% CI, 0.93 to 1.39; P = 0.20). To evaluate the association, a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis were undertaken of all studies published up to February 2007 (searched through PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science and EMBASE). The meta-analysis (38 studies with 13284 cases and 18722 controls) showed a per-allele odds ratio (OR) of 1.08 (95% CI, 1.01 to 1.15; P = 0.02). Moderate to large levels of heterogeneity were identified between studies. Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) violation and the mean age of cases were statistically significant sources of the observed variation. In a stratum of non-HWE violation studies, there was no effect. An asymmetric funnel plot, the Egger's test (P = 0.066), and the Begg-Mazumdar test (P = 0.074) were all suggestive of the presence of publication bias.


The pooled OR of the present meta-analysis, including our own data, presented evidence that there is an increase in the risk of CHD conferred by the M235T variant of the AGT gene. However, the relevance of this weakly positive overall association remains uncertain because it may be due to various residual biases, including HWE-violation and publication biases.

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