Brian Henry or Trish Moreis
AHA News Media Relations
Omni Rosen Hotel
NR 98-4852 (StrokeConf/ICH)
ORLANDO, Feb. 6 -- Genetic variations in apolipoprotein E, a key protein involved in the transport and disposal of cholesterol in the body, may be associated in African Americans with the occurrence of a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
In a presentation today at the American Heart Association's 23rd Joint International Conference on Stroke and Cerebral Circulation, researchers from Duke University said an increase in the variation of a certain gene known as the e4 allele has been shown to be a possible determinant of the potential for these strokes, called intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).
"This finding is important because it may help us understand why African Americans suffer more from intracerebral hemorrhage and why they get it at a younger age than Caucasians," says Mark Alberts, M.D., associate professor of medicine, division of neurology and director, Stroke Acute Care Unit at Duke University.
The culprit variant, e4, is one of three known alternative forms, or alleles, of the gene encoding for apo E. Located on the surface of circulating blood-fat particles, apo E normally binds to liver cells, helping them to clear cholesterol from the blood. When genetically defective apo E fails to do its job, higher levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol result, setting the stage for atherosclerosis, the disease process that can create the blood vessel obstruction that can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
"We and others have observed that African Americans tend to be more
likely to have bleeding strokes and have a worse outcome," says Alberts. "We
believe the e4 allele is a predictor of a poorer outcome after stroke and may be
associated with more severe stroke."
Contact: Brian Henry
American Heart Association