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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46573. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046573. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Mutation C3256T of mitochondrial genome in white blood cells: novel genetic marker of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

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Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Russian Cardiology Research and Production Complex, Russian Ministry of Health and Social Care, Moscow, Russian Federation.


This study was undertaken to examine the association between the level of heteroplasmy for the mutation C3256T in human white blood cells and the extent of carotid atherosclerosis, as well as the presence of coronary heart disease (CHD), the major clinical manifestation of atherosclerosis. Totally, 191 participants (84 men, 107 women) aged 65.0 years (SD 9.4) were recruited in the study; 45 (24%) of them had CHD. High-resolution B-mode ultrasonography of carotids was used to estimate the extent of carotid atherosclerosis by measuring of the carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). DNA samples were obtained from whole venous blood, and then PCR and pyrosequencing were carried out. On the basis of pyrosequencing data, the levels of C3256T heteroplasmy in DNA samples were calculated. The presence of the mutant allele was detected in all study participants; the level of C3256T heteroplasmy in white blood cells ranged from 5% to 74%. The highly significant relationship between C3256T heteroplasmy level and predisposition to atherosclerosis was revealed. In individuals with low predisposition to atherosclerosis the mean level of C3256T heteroplasmy was 16.8%, as compared to 23.8% in moderately predisposed subjects, and further to 25.2% and 28.3% in significantly and highly predisposed subjects, respectively. The level of C3256T heteroplasmy of mitochondrial genome in human white blood cells is a biomarker of mitochondrial dysfunction and risk factor for atherosclerosis; therefore, it can be used as an informative marker of genetic susceptibility to atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction.

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