(PHILADELPHIA) – Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the single largest cause of death in adults in the United States. Until recently, the genetic basis of CAD has been largely unknown, with just a few proven genes (typically genes for cholesterol disorders) accounting for very little of the disease in the population. Now, a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine shows that certain genetic profiles increase risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) while others uniquely increase risk of heart attacks in those with CAD. The findings, published online first today and in an upcoming edition of The Lancet, are the results of the analysis of two genome-wide association studies (GWAS) -- an examination of all or most of the genes (the genome) of different individuals to identify common genetic factors that influence disease.
Lead author Muredach P. Reilly, MBBCH, MSCE, associate professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Penn, and colleagues compared 12,393 individuals with CAD disorder with 7,383 controls who did not have CAD to identify loci that predispose to angiographic CAD. To identify loci that predispose to heart attacks, they compared 5,783 patients who had angiographic CAD and had a heart attack with 3,644 who had angiographic CAD but no heart attack.
The researchers identified a new locus, ADAMTS7 (a gene already implicated in arthritis), which increased the risk of developing CAD. In the heart-attack comparison, the authors found a new association at the ABO blood group locus. They found that the same gene that codes for the enzyme behind people being blood group O offered protection against heart attacks.
For more information, please see the Lancet’s press release on the study.
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.