Arterial stiffness (AS) is known to be associated with a number of clinical conditions including hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia, and may predict cardiovascular events and mortality. However, causal links are hard to establish. Results from Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have identified some Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) associated with AS but the overlap with other clinical conditions has been modest. Our aim was to investigate a potential shared set of risk SNPs between relevant cardiometabolic conditions and AS.Design and method:
The study population consists of 3056 individuals (mean age 72 years, 40% men) from the population-based Malmo Diet Cancer study, Sweden. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (c-f PWV), a marker of AS, was measured with Sphygmocor®. Genetic risk scores (GRS) were calculated for eight cardiometabolic conditions based on previously reported SNPs. Associations between GRS and AS were calculated with Pearson's correlation and multiple regression, adjusting for mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), and ongoing antihypertensive treatment (AHT).Results:
After adjustment, AS was negatively associated with a GRS for blood pressure but positively associated with GRS for type 2 diabetes. Fasting glucose and LDL-cholesterol GRS were of borderline significance associated with AS.Conclusions:
A GRS (48SNP) for type 2 diabetes is significantly associated with c-f PWV both before and after adjustment supporting a causal link between type 2 diabetes and arterial stiffness. The inverse relationship between blood pressure and arterial stiffness after adjustment for MAP and ongoing AHT is surprising. It could be explained by over-adjustment but needs to be further investigated.