Protein-Truncating Variants at the Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein Gene and Risk for Coronary Heart Disease

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Abstract

Rationale:

Therapies that inhibit CETP (cholesteryl ester transfer protein) have failed to demonstrate a reduction in risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Human DNA sequence variants that truncate the CETP gene may provide insight into the efficacy of CETP inhibition.

Objective:

To test whether protein-truncating variants (PTVs) at the CETP gene were associated with plasma lipid levels and CHD.

Methods and Results:

We sequenced the exons of the CETP gene in 58 469 participants from 12 case–control studies (18 817 CHD cases, 39 652 CHD-free controls). We defined PTV as those that lead to a premature stop, disrupt canonical splice sites, or lead to insertions/deletions that shift frame. We also genotyped 1 Japanese-specific PTV in 27561 participants from 3 case–control studies (14 286 CHD cases, 13 275 CHD-free controls). We tested association of CETP PTV carrier status with both plasma lipids and CHD. Among 58 469 participants with CETP gene-sequencing data available, average age was 51.5 years and 43% were women; 1 in 975 participants carried a PTV at the CETP gene. Compared with noncarriers, carriers of PTV at CETP had higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (effect size, 22.6 mg/dL; 95% confidence interval, 18–27; P<1.0×10−4), lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (−12.2 mg/dL; 95% confidence interval, −23 to −0.98; P=0.033), and lower triglycerides (−6.3%; 95% confidence interval, −12 to −0.22; P=0.043). CETP PTV carrier status was associated with reduced risk for CHD (summary odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.54–0.90; P=5.1×10−3).

Conclusions:

Compared with noncarriers, carriers of PTV at CETP displayed higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and lower risk for CHD.

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