Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook




 

Genes linked to cholesterol levels identified

15 October 2012

By Maria Sheppard

Appeared in BioNews 677

Twenty-one genes linked with cholesterol and other fat (lipid) levels in the blood have been identified by a consortium of over 180 researchers worldwide. The study analysed genetic data from over 90,000 people.

'To date this is the largest number of DNA samples ever used in a study for lipid traits', said Dr Brendan Keating, assistant professor at the Centre for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, USA, and senior author of the study. 'It clearly shows the value of using broad-ranging global scientific collaborations to yield new gene signals'.

Abnormal levels of lipids in the blood are linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks and strokes. Changes in different kinds of fats, such as low-density lipoproteins (LDL or 'bad' cholesterol), high density-lipoproteins (HDL or 'good' cholesterol), total cholesterol and triglycerides, may be involved.

The consortium used the Cardiochip, a gene analysis tool invented by Dr Keating in 2006. The device assists in finding specific genetic variations in genes associated with blood lipid levels and cardiovascular disease.

Senior author Dr Fotios Drenos of University College London, UK, explained: 'While each of the genetic variants has a small effect on the specific lipid trait, their cumulative effect can significantly add up to put people at risk for disease'.

These findings further our understanding of how genetic variations influence the lipids in our blood. 'This large study has provided us with a valuable insight into our genes which could potentially help us in the fight to beat heart disease [and] allow us to explore new avenues for better targeted drugs and treatments', said research adviser at the British Heart Foundation, Dr Hélène Wilson, to the Mail Online.

A word of caution was added by Dr Robert Cramb, head of the board of trustees for the cholesterol charity Heart UK: 'This is an important landmark study, but although the genes are identified, linking them to specific disease and then designing treatments, will take some time before clinical benefit may be seen', as reported by the Mail Online.

Lead author Dr Folkert Asselbergs of University Medical Centre in the Netherlands says additional studies to investigate the impact of these genes on cardiovascular disease are already underway.

The study was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Daily Express | 12 October 2012
 
EurekAlert! (press release) | 11 October 2012
 
The American Journal of Human Genetics | 11 October 2012
 
Mail Online | 11 October 2012
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

11 February 2013 - by Nina Chohan 
A mutation in the gene for lipoprotein(a), a type of cholesterol, is linked to aortic valve disease, according to a large international study...

16 August 2010 - by Chris Chatterton 
Two new studies published in Nature have found...
18 January 2010 - by Alison Cranage 
American scientists have found that a genetic variation could be associated with slower memory decline and a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The preliminary findings shed light on processes in the brain that could contribute to memory loss and dementia. The work was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last week....
23 June 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
A third of people have genetic variations that cut their risk of heart disease, perhaps by increasing the level of 'good' (HDL) cholesterol in their blood, say UK and Dutch scientists. A new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, shows that individuals...
21 January 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens 
By Ailsa Taylor: A team of British researchers have identified a common genetic variation that can increase the risk of high cholesterol. The study, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, may help to explain why the same gene has previously been linked with increased chance of heart disease...
11 July 2005 - by BioNews 
A study of identical twins in the US suggests why some people can eat all the fatty foods they want without increasing their blood cholesterol levels, while others have to watch their diets like a hawk. The researchers found that people's genes play a more important role than lifestyle in...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust
Advertise your products and services HERE - click for further details

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation