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N Engl J Med. 2000 Sep 14;343(11):774-80.

Polymorphisms in the factor VII gene and the risk of myocardial infarction in patients with coronary artery disease.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Verona, Italy.



High plasma levels of coagulation factor VII have been suggested to be predictors of death due to coronary artery disease. Since polymorphisms in the factor VII gene contribute to variations in factor VII levels, such polymorphisms may be associated with the risk of myocardial infarction, which is precipitated by thrombosis.


We studied a total of 444 patients, 311 of whom had severe, angiographically documented coronary atherosclerosis. Of these 311 patients, 175 had documentation of a previous myocardial infarction. As a control group, 133 patients with normal coronary arteriograms were also included. We measured the levels of activated factor VII and assessed three polymorphisms in the factor VII gene, one involving the promoter (A1 and A2 alleles), one involving the catalytic region (R353Q), and one involving intron 7.


Each of the polymorphisms influenced factor VII levels. Patients with the A2A2 and QQ genotypes had the lowest levels of activated factor VII (66 percent and 72 percent lower, respectively, than the levels in patients with the wild-type genotypes). The frequencies of the various genotypes in the patients free of coronary artery disease were similar to those in the entire population of patients with coronary artery disease. In the latter group, there were significantly more heterozygotes and homozygotes for the A2 and Q alleles among those who had not had a myocardial infarction than among those who had had an infarction (P=0.008 for the presence of the promoter polymorphism and P=0.01 for the presence of the R353Q polymorphism by chi-square analysis). The adjusted odds ratio for myocardial infarction among the patients with the A1A2 or RQ genotype was 0.47 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.27 to 0.81).


Our findings suggest that certain factor VII genotypes have a role in protection against myocardial infarction. This may explain why some patients do not have myocardial infarction despite the presence of severe coronary atherosclerosis.

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