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Genet Epidemiol. 1992;9(6):405-18.

Longitudinal study of the association between ABO phenotype and total serum cholesterol level in a Japanese cohort.

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Department of Statistics, Radiation Effects Research Foundation, Hiroshima, Japan.


The relationship between ABO blood phenotype and total serum cholesterol (TC) level was examined in a Japanese population to determine whether an elevated TC level is associated with phenotype A, as has been demonstrated in many West European populations. Such studies in nonwhite populations are scarce, and findings generally failed to demonstrate the relationship. Inconsistent results from cross-sectional studies of various racial groups with widely varying ages raised an age effect as a possible explanatory factor. It was also suggested that the ABO-TC association may not be apparent in populations with low fat intake or low mean cholesterol level. These hypotheses are addressed by examining long-term TC data collected serially from the unexposed controls of the atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were participants of the Adult Health Study program at the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission-Radiation Effects Research Foundation between 1958 and 1986. The statistical method of growth curve analysis, through the mixed effect model of Laird and Ware [1982], was used to model age-dependent changes in cholesterol levels within individuals. The effects of the ABO polymorphism in modifying the resultant growth curve are examined. We demonstrate that TC levels are elevated on average by about 4 mg/dl in phenotype A compared to non-A in the Japanese (P < 0.00001), and that this relationship is maintained from early to late adulthood, independent of sex, body mass index, cohort status, or city of residence. Thus, phenotype A individuals may be more predisposed to cardiovascular disease through one of its major risk factors. This is the first study of the ABO-cholesterol association in the Japanese, and the first based on a cohort with longitudinally collected TC data.

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