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Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 14;6:32700. doi: 10.1038/srep32700.

An APOC3 3'UTR variant associated with plasma triglycerides levels and coronary heart disease by creating a functional miR-4271 binding site.

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Institute of Hypertension and Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China.


Apolipoprotein C-III (APOC3) is a key regulator of plasma triglycerides levels. Increasing evidence has shown that loss-of-function mutations in APOC3 is associated with reduction in plasma triglycerides levels and will confer a benefit in patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease. However, these favorable mutations were extremely distribution discrepant among different ethnics. In this study, the APOC3 gene was resequenced and we identified a common variant which located in the microRNA-binding site in APOC3 and would affect its expression and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). The molecular mechanism was explored. We found that the T allele of rs4225 suppressed APOC3 translation by facilitating miR-4271 binding, but not the G allele. Subjects carrying the GG genotype had higher plasma APOC3 levels (p for trend = 0.03) than those with the TT genotype. Furthermore, the T allele was significantly associated with decreased triglyceride levels [Beta (SE): -0.024 (0.020), P = 0.03]. Finally, the case-control study suggested that the TT genotype resulted in a significant reduction in overall CHD risk [OR, 0.89 (95% confidence interval, 0.77-0.98), P = 0.009]. In conclusion, our results provide evidence that the rs4225 in the 3'-UTR of APOC3 might contribute to the risk of CHD by interfering with miR-4271 binding.

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