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World J Cardiol. 2011 Jul 26;3(7):230-47. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v3.i7.230.

Implications of discoveries from genome-wide association studies in current cardiovascular practice.

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  • 1Panniyammakal Jeemon, Kerry Pettigrew, Christopher Sainsbury, Sandosh Padmanabhan, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8TA, United Kingdom.


Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several genetic variants associated with coronary heart disease (CHD), and variations in plasma lipoproteins and blood pressure (BP). Loci corresponding to CDKN2A/CDKN2B/ANRIL, MTHFD1L, CELSR2, PSRC1 and SORT1 genes have been associated with CHD, and TMEM57, DOCK7, CELSR2, APOB, ABCG5, HMGCR, TRIB1, FADS2/S3, LDLR, NCAN and TOMM40-APOE with total cholesterol. Similarly, CELSR2-PSRC1-SORT1, PCSK9, APOB, HMGCR, NCAN-CILP2-PBX4, LDLR, TOMM40-APOE, and APOC1-APOE are associated with variations in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Altogether, forty, forty three and twenty loci have been associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides and BP phenotypes, respectively. Some of these identified loci are common for all the traits, some do not map to functional genes, and some are located in genes that encode for proteins not previously known to be involved in the biological pathway of the trait. GWAS have been successful at identifying new and unexpected genetic loci common to diseases and traits, thus rapidly providing key novel insights into disease biology. Since genotype information is fixed, with minimum biological variability, it is useful in early life risk prediction. However, these variants explain only a small proportion of the observed variance of these traits. Therefore, the utility of genetic determinants in assessing risk at later stages of life has limited immediate clinical impact. The future application of genetic screening will be in identifying risk groups early in life to direct targeted preventive measures.


Blood pressure; Cardiovascular disease; Genome-wide association studies; Lipids

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