Apolipoprotein E Polymorphisms and Age at First Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

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Apolipoprotein E (apoE) polymorphisms are heritable determinants of total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The impact of apoE4 genotypes on the severity of atherosclerosis has been debated; however, recent studies have identified a correlation between apoE4 genotype and atherosclerosis. We assessed the impact of apoE4 genotype on age at first coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), hypothesizing that patients with the apoE4 allele are predisposed to coronary artery disease and present earlier for coronary revascularization. We assessed individual apoE genotypes and age in 560 patients undergoing primary CABG, by using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and controlling for gender. Because of the small number of patients in individual genotype groups, we compared patients with one or more copies of the apoE4 allele with those having no copies of the allele, again controlling for gender. A comparison of patients with one or more copies of the apoE4 allele with patients without the allele showed an earlier age at first CABG for those with the allele (P = 0.032). Gene-dose analysis was also significant (P = 0.012); patients with two copies of the allele presented at 54.2 ± 6.9 yr. We report that the apoE4 allele is linked to age at first CABG. Identifying at-risk individuals may help prevent atherosclerosis. Further study is needed to define the mechanism of this association, and to define which coronary intervention is appropriate, based on long-term outcome.

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