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Atherosclerosis. 2000 Nov;153(1):161-8.

The methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene is associated with increased cardiovascular risk in Japan, but not in other populations.

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Department of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Yonsei University Graduate School of Health Science and Management, CPO POB 8044, Seoul, South Korea.


The methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease in some, but not all studies. Our data sources included a MEDLINE search of the literature published before December 1998, a bibliography review, and expert consultation. Of 23 studies initially identified, 18 (9855 persons) met the inclusion criteria. Information on sample size, study design, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, method of genotype determination, plasma folate and homocysteine were abstracted by two reviewers using a standardized protocol. The overall odds ratio of the MTHFR gene on cardiovascular disease was estimated using the Mantel-Haenzel method. From 12 studies with angiographically-confirmed coronary artery disease (CAD), the overall odds ratio (OR) for CAD among those with heterozygous (V/A) was 1.3 (95% CI, 1.1-1.5), while it was 1.4 (1.2-1.6) for the homozygous mutant (V/V) compared to those with homozygous normal (A/A). However, the overall odds ratio for CAD among those with the V/V genotype versus A/A genotype was not statistically significant (OR: 1.1; 95% CI: 0.9-1.3) after excluding three Japanese studies. The corresponding OR for the three Japanese studies was 2.0 (1.6-2.7). For six studies with myocardial infarction (MI), the overall OR of MI was 1.0 (0.8-1.1) for those with the V/A genotype and 0.9 (0.7-1.1) for those with the V/V genotype, respectively; none of these ORs for MI was statistically significant. The MTHFR gene is associated with increased risk for CAD in Japan, but not in other populations.

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