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Ann Epidemiol. 1992 Jul;2(4):371-85.

Genetic factors determining thrombosis and fibrinolysis.

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Arterial Disease Research Unit, Charing Cross Sunley Research Centre, London, United Kingdom.


Raised plasma levels of fibrinogen, factor VIIc, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) are associated with an increased risk of ischemic heart disease. Levels of these proteins are determined in part by environmental influences such as smoking and dietary fat intake. However, genetic variation explains much of the interindividual variation in plasma levels of these proteins not accounted for by environmental factors. We previously investigated the DNA variation at the fibrinogen gene locus and showed that BclI restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of the beta-fibrinogen gene is associated with between-person differences in plasma fibrinogen levels. This RFLP is unlikely to be the functional base change itself, since it lies downstream of the gene. The rate-limiting step in the production of the mature fibrinogen molecule in the human hepatoma cell-line HepG2 is the synthesis of the beta-polypeptide chain, which in turn is influenced by the amount of messenger (mRNA) available. One possibility is that BclI RFLP is in linkage disequilibrium with a base change in the region of the beta-gene controlling synthesis of its mRNA and ultimately of fibrinogen protein. We identified a base change in the 5'-flanking region of the beta-fibrinogen gene that is in linkage disequilibrium with the BclI RFLP, that is associated with plasma fibrinogen levels, and that may be involved in control of fibrinogen gene expression. For the factor VII gene, we identified a polymorphism, detected after Msp I digestion of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified genomic DNA, that is strongly associated with factor VII coagulant activity (factor VIIc). The base change that creates the Msp I polymorphism is a G to A substitution, leading to the replacement of arginine (Arg) with glutamine (Gln) in the protein product of the M2 allele. In a sample of 284 men from the United Kingdom the frequency of the Gln allele (M2 loss of cutting site) is 0.1, and individuals of genotype Arg/Gln have factor VIIc levels 22% below the sample mean. In this sample, the Msp I genotype was found to be the strongest predictor of factor VIIc, accounting for 20.2% of the variance, with cholesterol accounting for an additional 3.5%. Three individuals homozygous for the Gln allele had both low factor VIIc and low factor VII protein concentrations. The conformation of the factor VII Gln may be different from that of the Arg protein, affecting its intracellular processing, secretion, turnover in plasma, or activity.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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