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Epidemiological studies strongly suggest a genetic susceptibility to atherosclerosis, unstable angina, and myocardial infarction. Many small studies have implicated different genes as candidates. A group of researchers systematically searched for all such studies and attempted to confirm their findings in a large case control study.
The researchers genotyped 811 white people who presented to hospital with acute coronary syndrome and 650 healthy people matched for age, sex, and ethnic origin and compared each implicated gene variant in patients and controls. Aside from attempting to replicate previously reported associations of 85 variants in 70 genes with the occurrence of atherosclerosis or acute coronary syndrome, the researchers also examined the data for other possible associations, without prespecifying risk models, and used the Sign test to explore the possibility of weakly positive associations.
None of the tested genetic variants could unequivocally be confirmed as a risk factor for acute coronary syndrome. The authors warn that, although some of these gene variants are already starting to be used in practice as markers of cardiovascular risk, such clinical genetic testing seems to be premature. Possible genetic risk factors need to be extensively validated before they enter daily practice.