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Hum Mol Genet. 1999 Jan;8(1):93-7.

Genetic control of the circulating concentration of transforming growth factor type beta1.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Box 157, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK.


The concentration of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) in plasma has been correlated with the development of several diseases, including atherosclerosis and certain forms of cancer. However, the mechanisms that control the concentration of TGF-beta in plasma are poorly understood. In a study of 170 pairs of female twins (average age 57.7 years) we show that the concentration of active plus acid-activatable latent TGF-beta1 [(a+l) TGF-beta therefore is predominantly under genetic control (heritability estimate 0.54). Single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) mapping of the TGF-beta1 gene promoter has identified two single base substitution polymorphisms. The two polymorphisms (G-->A at position -800 bp and C-->T at position -509 bp) are in linkage disequilibrium (correlation coefficient Delta = 0.215, P < 0.01). The C-509T polymorphism is significantly associated with the plasma concentration of (a+l) TGF-beta1, explaining 8.2% of the additive genetic variance of (a+l) TGF-beta1 concentration. It is therefore possible that predisposition to atherosclerosis, bone diseases or various forms of cancer may be correlated with the presence of particular alleles at the TGFB1 locus.

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