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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2014 Jul;52(7):937-50. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2013-1124.

The association between plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) levels, PAI-1 4G/5G polymorphism, and myocardial infarction: a Mendelian randomization meta-analysis.



The circulating levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) are increased in individuals carrying the 4G allele at position -675 of the PAI-1 gene. In turn, overexpression of PAI-1 has been found to affect both atheroma and thrombosis. However, the association between PAI-1 levels and the incidence of myocardial infarction (MI) is complicated by the potentially confounding effects of well-known cardiovascular risk factors. The current study tried to investigate in parallel the association of PAI-1 activity with the PAI-1 4G/5G polymorphism, with MI, and some components of metabolic syndrome (MetS).


Using meta-analytical Mendelian randomization approaches, genotype-disease and genotype-phenotype associations were modeled simultaneously.


According to an additive model of inheritance and the Mendelian randomization approach, the MI-related odd ratio for individuals carrying the 4G allele was 1.088 with 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.007, 1.175. Moreover, the 4G carriers had, on average, higher PAI-1 activity than 5G carriers by 1.136 units (95% CI 0.738, 1.533). The meta-regression analyses showed that the levels of triglycerides (p=0.005), cholesterol (p=0.037) and PAI-1 (p=0.021) in controls were associated with the MI risk conferred by the 4G carriers.


The Mendelian randomization meta-analysis confirmed previous knowledge that the PAI-1 4G allele slightly increases the risk for MI. In addition, it supports the notion that PAI-1 activity and established cardiovascular determinants, such as cholesterol and triglyceride levels, could lie in the etiological pathway from PAI-1 4G allele to the occurrence of MI. Further research is warranted to elucidate these interactions.

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