Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Researchers Discover Underlying Genetics, Marker for Stroke, Cardiovascular Disease

Published: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Last Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014
Bookmark and Share
NIH-funded findings point to new potential strategies for disease prevention, treatment.

Scientists studying the genomes of nearly 5,000 people have pinpointed a genetic variant tied to an increased risk for stroke, and have also uncovered new details about an important metabolic pathway that plays a major role in several common diseases.

Together, their findings may provide new clues to underlying genetic and biochemical influences in the development of stroke and cardiovascular disease, and may also help lead to new treatment strategies.

"Our findings have the potential to identify new targets in the prevention and treatment of stroke, cardiovascular disease and many other common diseases," said Stephen R. Williams, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia Cardiovascular Research Center and the University of Virginia Center for Public Health Genomics, Charlottesville.

Dr. Williams, Michele Sale, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, Brad Worrall, M.D., professor of neurology and public health sciences, all at the University of Virginia, and their team reported their findings March 20, 2014 in PLoS Genetics. The investigators were supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Genomics and Randomized Trials Network (GARNET) program (https://www.genome.gov/27541119).

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and a major cause of adult disability in this country, yet its underlying genetics have been difficult to understand. Numerous genetic and environmental factors can contribute to a person having a stroke. "Our goals were to break down the risk factors for stroke," Dr. Williams said.

The researchers focused on one particular biochemical pathway called the folate one-carbon metabolism (FOCM) pathway. They knew that abnormally high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of common diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular disease and dementia.

Homocysteine is a breakdown product of methionine, which is part of the FOCM pathway. The same pathway can affect many important cellular processes, including the methylation of proteins, DNA and RNA. DNA methylation is a mechanism that cells use to control which genes are turned on and off, and when.

But clinical trials of homocysteine-lowering therapies have not prevented disease, and the genetics underlying high homocysteine levels - and methionine metabolism gone awry - are not well defined.

Dr. Williams and his colleagues conducted genome-wide association studies of participants from two large long-term projects: the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention (VISP), a trial looking at ways to prevent a second ischemic stroke, and the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), which has followed the cardiovascular health and disease in a general population for decades. They also measured methionine metabolism - the ability to convert methionine to homocysteine - in both groups. In all, they studied 2,100 VISP participants and 2,710 FHS subjects.

In a genome-wide association study, researchers scan the genome to identify specific genomic variants associated with a disease. In this case, the scientists were trying to identify variants associated with a trait - the ability to metabolize methionine into homocysteine.

Investigators identified variants in five genes in the FOCM pathway that were associated with differences in a person's ability to convert methionine to homocysteine. They found that among the five genes, one - the ALDH1L1 gene - was also strongly associated with stroke in the Framingham study. When the gene is not working properly, it has been associated with a breakdown in a normal cellular process called programmed cell death, and cancer cell survival.

They also made important discoveries about the methionine-homocysteine process. "GNMT produces a protein that converts methionine to homocysteine. Of the five genes that we identified, it was the one most significantly associated with this process," Dr. Williams said. "The analyses suggest that differences in GNMT are the major drivers behind the differences in methionine metabolism in humans."

"It's striking that the genes are in the same pathway, so we know that the genomic variants affecting that pathway contribute to the variability in disease and risk that we're seeing," he said. "We may have found how genetic information controls the regulation of GNMT."

The group determined that the five genes accounted for 6 percent of the difference in individuals' ability to process methionine into homocysteine among those in the VISP trial. The genes also accounted for 13 percent of the difference in those participants in the FHS, a remarkable result given the complex nature of methionine metabolism and its impact on cerebrovascular risk. In many complex diseases, genomic variants often account for less than 5 percent of such differences.

"This is a great example of the kinds of successful research efforts coming out of the GARNET program," said program director Ebony Madden, Ph.D. "GARNET scientists aim to identify variants that affect treatment response by doing association studies in randomized trials. These results show that variants in genes are associated with the differences in homocysteine levels in individuals."

The association of the ALDH1L1 gene variant with stroke is just one example of how the findings may potentially lead to new prevention efforts, and help develop new targets for treating stroke and heart disease, Dr. Williams said.

"As genome sequencing becomes more widespread, clinicians may be able to determine if a person's risk for abnormally high levels of homocysteine is elevated," he said. "Changes could be made to an individual's diet because of a greater risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease."

The investigators plan to study the other four genes in the pathway to try to better understand their potential roles in stroke and cardiovascular disease risk.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Researchers Find a Gap in the Brain’s Firewall Against Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers at NIH have found mouse study that identified a key player in the progression of the disorder.
Saturday, October 01, 2016
Drug to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder Shows Promise Among Drinkers With High Stress
The findings suggest that potential future studies with drugs targeting vasopressin blockade should focus on populations of people with AUD who also report high levels of stress.
Friday, September 30, 2016
Monkeys Protected by Zika DNA Vaccine
Experimental Zika virus DNA vaccines successfully protected monkeys against Zika infection.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Probe Identifies Schizophrenia Genes That Stunt Brain Development
Scientists have isolated schizophrenia-related gene variants that change gene expression in the brain.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Developing Novel Ear Infection Treatments
Research team engineers antibiotic gel for treating middle ear infections.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
“Sixth Sense” More Than a Feeling
NIH study of rare genetic disorder reveals importance of touch and body awareness.
Monday, September 26, 2016
“Sixth Sense” May Be More Than Just A Feeling
The NIH Study shows that two young patients with a mutation in the PIEZ02 have problems with touch and proprioception, or body awareness.
Friday, September 23, 2016
The Genetics of Blood Pressure
Researchers have identifed areas of the genome associated with blood-pressure including 17 previously unknown loci.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
NIH Study Finds Link Between Depression, Gestational Diabetes
Researchers at NIH have discovered that the depression in early pregnancy doubles risk for gestational diabetes, and gestational diabetes increases risk for postpartum depression.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Detecting Bacterial Infections in Newborns
Researchers tested an alternative way to diagnose bacterial infections in infants—by analyzing RNA biosignatures from a small blood sample.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Finding Compounds That Inhibit Zika
Researchers identified compounds that inhibit the Zika virus and reduce its ability to kill brain cells.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Seeking Innovation to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance
Federal prize competition, with $20 million in prizes, seeks to develop new laboratory diagnostic tools to detect and distinguish antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Friday, September 09, 2016
Genetic Misdiagnoses of Heart Condition
Analysis found several genetic variations previously linked with a heart condition were harmless, leading to condition misdiagnosis.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Catalogue of Human Genetic Diversity Expands
The largest data set of human exomes to date has been assembled to better study seqence variants and their consequences.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Extreme Temperatures Could Increase Preterm Birth Risk
Researchers at NIH have found more preterm births among women exposed to extremes of hot and cold.
Friday, September 02, 2016
Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
Researchers Find a Gap in the Brain’s Firewall Against Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers at NIH have found mouse study that identified a key player in the progression of the disorder.
Fat Cells That Amplify Nerve Signals in Response to Cold Also Affect Blood Sugar Metabolism
Researchers at UTSW have found that the protein connexin 43 forms cell-to-cell communication channels on the surface of emerging beige fat cells that amplify the signals from those few nerve fibers.
Drug to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder Shows Promise Among Drinkers With High Stress
The findings suggest that potential future studies with drugs targeting vasopressin blockade should focus on populations of people with AUD who also report high levels of stress.
C Dots Show Powerful Tumor Killing Effect
Nanoparticles known as Cornell dots, or C dots, have shown great promise as a therapeutic tool in the detection and treatment of cancer.
Faecal Bacteria Linked to Body Fat
Researchers at King’s College London have found a new link between the diversity of bacteria in human poo – known as the human faecal microbiome - and levels of abdominal body fat.
How Baby’s Genes Influence Birth Weight And Later Life Disease
The large-scale study could help to target new ways of preventing and treating these diseases.
Genes Underlying Dogs’ Social Ability Revealed
The social ability of dogs is affected by genes that also seem to influence human behaviour, according to a new study from Linköping University in Sweden.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!