OTTAWA, Dec. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - The University of Ottawa Heart Institute
(UOHI) participated in the largest genetic study of Coronary Artery
Disease (CAD) to date. Researchers from the CARDIoGRAMplusC4D
Consortium report the identification of 15 genetic regions newly
associated with the disease, bringing to 46 the number of regions
associated with CAD risk.
The Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics Centre, at the Heart
Institute, was the main genetic centre in Canada contributing most
patient cases involved in this study and analyzing patient cases from
across North America.
In this unparalleled study, published today in the prestigious
scientific magazine Nature, the team identified a further 104 independent genetic variants that
are very likely to be associated with the disease, enhancing our
knowledge of the genetic component that causes CAD.
Researchers, including Dr. George Wells and Dr. Alexandre Stewart from
the Heart Institute, used their discoveries to identify biological
pathways that underlie the disease and showed that lipid metabolism and
inflammation play a significant role in CAD.
CAD and its main complication, myocardial infarction (heart attack), are
some of the most common causes of death in the world and approximately
one in five men and one in seven women die from the disease in the UK.
CAD has a strong inherited basis.
"These findings show, for the first time, clear evidence that several of
the genetic risk factors for CAD function through known inflammatory
pathways," said Dr. Robert Roberts, President and CEO of the Heart
Institute and Director of the Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics
Centre. "This identifies a novel pathway for the prevention of heart
disease and establishes molecules that can now be targeted for
developing new therapies."
The Consortium spanning over 180 researchers from countries across
Europe (UK, Germany, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, France, Italy, Greece),
Lebanon, Pakistan, Korea, USA and Canada analyzed DNA from over 60,000
CAD cases and 130,000 apparently unaffected people. The researchers
integrated the genetic findings into a network analysis and,
unsurprisingly, found the metabolism of fats being the most prominent
pathway linked to CAD. The second most prominent pathway, however, was
inflammation which provides evidence at the molecular level for the
link between inflammation and heart disease.
The importance of the work is that while some of the genetic variants
that were identified work through known risk factors for CAD such as
high blood pressure and cholesterol, many of the variants appear to
work through unknown mechanisms. Understanding how these genetic
variants affect CAD risk is the next goal and this could pave a way to
developing new treatments for this important disease.
This study provides a useful framework for future projects to elucidate
the biological processes underlying CAD and to investigate how genes
work together to cause this disease.
Housed at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the John & Jennifer
Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics Centre is the first
comprehensive Cardiovascular Genetic Centre dedicated to both the
research and clinical management of inherited cardiovascular disease in
SOURCE: OTTAWA HEART INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA
For further information:
Senior Manager, Public Affairs
University of Ottawa Heart Institute