Shared polymorphisms and modifiable behavior factors for myocardial infarction and high cholesterol in a retrospective population study

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Genetic and environmental (behavior, clinical, and demographic) factors are associated with increased risks of both myocardial infarction (MI) and high cholesterol (HC). It is known that HC is major risk factor that may cause MI. However, whether there are common single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) associated with both MI and HC is not firmly established, and whether there are modulate and modified effects (interactions of genetic and known environmental factors) on either HC or MI, and whether these joint effects improve the predictions of MI, is understudied.

The purpose of this study is to identify novel shared SNPs and modifiable environmental factors on MI and HC. We assess whether SNPs from a metabolic pathway related to MI may relate to HC; whether there are moderate effects among SNPs, lifestyle (smoke and drinking), HC, and MI after controlling other factors [gender, body mass index (BMI), and hypertension (HTN)]; and evaluate prediction power of the joint and modulate genetic and environmental factors influencing the MI and HC.

This is a retrospective study with residents of Erie and Niagara counties in New York with a history of MI or with no history of MI. The data set includes environmental variables (demographic, clinical, lifestyle). Thirty-one tagSNPs from a metabolic pathway related to MI are genotyped. Generalized linear models (GLMs) with imputation-based analysis are conducted for examining the common effects of tagSNPs and environmental exposures and their interactions on having a history of HC or MI.

MI, BMI, and HTN are significant risk factors for HC. HC shows the strongest effect on risk of MI in addition to HTN; gender and smoking status while drinking status shows protective effect on MI. rs16944 (gene IL-1β) and rs17222772 (gene ALOX) increase the risks of HC, while rs17231896 (gene CETP) has protective effects on HC either with or without the clinical, behavioral, demographic factors with different effect sizes that may indicate the existence of moderate or modifiable effects. Further analysis with the inclusions of gene–gene and gene–environmental interactions shows interactions between rs17231896 (CETP) and rs17222772 (ALOX); rs17231896 (CETP) and gender. rs17237890 (CETP) and rs2070744 (NOS3) are found to be significantly associated with risks of MI adjusted by both SNPs and environmental factors. After multiple testing adjustments, these effects diminished as expected. In addition, an interaction between drinking and smoking status is significant. Overall, the prediction power in successfully classifying MI status is increased to 80% with inclusions of all significant tagSNPs and environmental factors and their interactions compared with environmental factors only (72%).

Having a history of either HC or MI has significant effects on each other in both directions, in addition to HTN and gender. Genes/SNPs identified from this analysis that are associated with HC may be potentially linked to MI, which could be further examined and validated through haplotype-pairs analysis with appropriate population stratification corrections, and function/pathway regulation analysis to eliminate the limitations of the current analysis.

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