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Atherosclerosis. 2001 Sep;158(1):227-31.

Effect of glutathione S-transferase M1 genotype on progression of atherosclerosis in lifelong male smokers.

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Division of Human Nutrition and Epidemiology, Wageningen University and Research Center, Dreijenlaan 1, Bodenr 154, 6703 HA Wageningen, The Netherlands.


We hypothesize that smokers with the null genotype for GSTM1 (GSTM1-0), who thus lack the detoxification enzyme glutathione S-transferase mu-1, develop atherosclerosis at an increased rate compared to smokers with the positive genotype (GSTM1-1). We used data from a 2-year randomized placebo-controlled trial on the effect of vitamin E on atherosclerosis among 189 male smokers. Progression of atherosclerosis was measured by 2-year change of the common carotid intima media thickness (CCA-IMT) as measured by B-mode ultrasonography. The frequency of GSTM1-0 genotype was 0.5 in both the placebo and the vitamin E group. Smokers with GSTM1-0 genotype had a tendency to higher baseline CCA-IMT values than those with GSTM1-1 (0.97 versus 0.92 mm, P=0.09). Within the placebo group, more CCA-IMT progression was found for smokers with the GSTM1-0 than for smokers with the GSTM1-1 genotype after adjustment for baseline IMT and major CVD risk factors (0.050 versus -0.002 mm, P=0.046). In the vitamin E group no effect of GSTM1 genotype on atherosclerosis progression was found. Overall, smokers with GSTM1-0 genotype had a higher mean 2-year progression compared to those with GSTM1-1 as shown by a difference in increase of 0.042 mm (95% CI 0.006; 0.078, P=0.02). In conclusion, our data suggest that smokers lacking the detoxifying enzyme GST mu-1 develop progression of atherosclerosis at an increased rate.

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