Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is a widely accepted marker of subclinical atherosclerosis. To date, large-scale investigations of genetic determinants of cIMT are sparse.
Methods and Results
To identify cIMT-associated genes and genetic variants, a discovery analysis using the Illumina 200K CardioMetabochip was conducted in 3430 subjects with detailed ultrasonographic determinations of cIMT from the IMPROVE (Carotid Intima Media Thickness [IMT] and IMT-Progression as Predictors of Vascular Events in a High Risk European Population) study. Segment-specific IMT measurements of common carotid, bifurcation, and internal carotid arteries, and composite IMT variables considering the whole carotid tree (IMTmean, IMTmax, and IMTmean-max), were analyzed. A replication stage investigating 42 single-nucleotide polymorphisms for association with common carotid IMT was undertaken in 5 independent European cohorts (total n=11 590). A locus on chromosome 16 (lead single-nucleotide polymorphism rs4888378, intronic in CFDP1) was associated with cIMT at significance levels passing multiple testing correction at both stages (array-wide significant discovery P=6.75×10−7 for IMTmax; replication P=7.24×10−6 for common cIMT; adjustments for sex, age, and population substructure where applicable; minor allele frequency 0.43 and 0.41, respectively). The protective minor allele was associated with lower carotid plaque score in a replication cohort (P=0.04, n=2120) and lower coronary artery disease risk in 2 case-control studies of subjects with European ancestry (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 0.83 [0.77–0.90], P=6.53×10−6, n=13 591; and 0.95 [0.92–0.98], P=1.83×10−4, n=82 297, respectively). Queries of human biobank data sets revealed associations of rs4888378 with nearby gene expression in vascular tissues (n=126–138).
This study identified rs4888378 in the BCAR1-CFDP1-TMEM170A locus as a novel genetic determinant of cIMT and coronary artery disease risk in individuals of European descent.
2012. Vol. 5, no 6, 656-665 p.