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Pharmacogenomics J. 2012 Oct;12(5):425-31. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2011.20. Epub 2011 May 24.

Sequencing of Lp-PLA2-encoding PLA2G7 gene in 2000 Europeans reveals several rare loss-of-function mutations.

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Department of Genetics, GlaxoSmithKline, Upper Merion, PA, USA.


Elevated plasma levels of lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A(2) (Lp-PLA2) activity have been shown to be associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease and an inhibitor of this enzyme is under development for the treatment of that condition. A Val279Phe null allele in this gene, that may influence patient eligibility for treatment, is relatively common in East Asians but has not been observed in Europeans. We investigated the existence and functional effects of low frequency alleles in a Western European population by re-sequencing the exons of PLA2G7 in 2000 samples. In all, 19 non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) were found, 14 in fewer than four subjects (minor allele frequency <0.1%). Lp-PLA2 activity was significantly lower in rare nsSNP carriers compared with non-carriers (167.8±63.2 vs 204.6±41.8, P=0.01) and seven variants had enzyme activities consistent with a null allele. The cumulative frequency of these null alleles was 0.25%, so <1 in 10,000 Europeans would be expected to be homozygous, and thus not potentially benefit from treatment with an Lp-PLA2 inhibitor.

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