HONOLULU, April 24 Searching for patterns of genetic variation, rather than a single variation, may be a more promising approach to predicting a persons response to cholesterol-lowering therapy, according to research presented today at the American Heart Associations Asia Pacific Scientific Forum.
In recent years, researchers have studied genes to determine their effect on the risk of heart disease, as well as how they influence treatments for heart disease such as cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Researchers from Ruprecht Karls University and Albert Ludwigs University in Germany, and from Genaissance Pharmaceuticals in the United States studied the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene that is involved in keeping the balance between the good and bad types of cholesterol. They suspected that variations in this gene could affect a persons response to cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Not all people have the same response to treatment and we think this could be linked to genetics, says study author Gualberto Ruao, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in New Haven, Conn.
When they analyzed participants CETP genes, researchers were looking for genetic markers for heart disease. However, they found that individual gene variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) small alterations in genes were not associated with the persons cholesterol levels after drug treatment. But, when they looked at a pattern of gene variations called a haplotype, they did find an association.
A haplotype is a combination of variations in a gene. Variability is measured at two levels: the individual level that SNPs and the haplotype level. Think about the SNP as a single band in a bar code, and the haplotype as the bar code that has all of those organized, explains Ruano.
This research was part of an ongoing longitudinal study spearheaded in Germany. Out of 3,000 individuals in the Ludwigshafen Risk and Ca
Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association