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2.  Network Analysis of Inflammatory Genes and Their Transcriptional Regulators in Coronary Artery Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94328.
Network analysis is a novel method to understand the complex pathogenesis of inflammation-driven atherosclerosis. Using this approach, we attempted to identify key inflammatory genes and their core transcriptional regulators in coronary artery disease (CAD). Initially, we obtained 124 candidate genes associated with inflammation and CAD using Polysearch and CADgene database for which protein-protein interaction network was generated using STRING 9.0 (Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes) and visualized using Cytoscape v 2.8.3. Based on betweenness centrality (BC) and node degree as key topological parameters, we identified interleukin-6 (IL-6), vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1B), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2) as hub nodes. The backbone network constructed with these five hub genes showed 111 nodes connected via 348 edges, with IL-6 having the largest degree and highest BC. Nuclear factor kappa B1 (NFKB1), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and JUN were identified as the three core transcription factors from the regulatory network derived using MatInspector. For the purpose of validation of the hub genes, 97 test networks were constructed, which revealed the accuracy of the backbone network to be 0.7763 while the frequency of the hub nodes remained largely unaltered. Pathway enrichment analysis with ClueGO, KEGG and REACTOME showed significant enrichment of six validated CAD pathways - smooth muscle cell proliferation, acute-phase response, calcidiol 1-monooxygenase activity, toll-like receptor signaling, NOD-like receptor signaling and adipocytokine signaling pathways. Experimental verification of the above findings in 64 cases and 64 controls showed increased expression of the five candidate genes and the three transcription factors in the cases relative to the controls (p<0.05). Thus, analysis of complex networks aid in the prioritization of genes and their transcriptional regulators in complex diseases.
PMCID: PMC3988072  PMID: 24736319
3.  Mucosal Tolerance to a Combination of ApoB and HSP60 Peptides Controls Plaque Progression and Stabilizes Vulnerable Plaque in Apobtm2SgyLdlrtm1Her/J Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58364.
Oral tolerance to auto antigens reduces the development of atherosclerosis in mouse models. However, the effect of immune tolerance to multiple self antigenic peptides in plaque progression and stabilization is not known. We studied the protective effect of mucosal tolerance to peptides from apolipoprotein B (ApoB; 661–680) and heat shock protein 60 (HSP60; 153–163), in combination with diet, in the prevention of atherosclerotic lesion progression and plaque stabilization in ApoBtm25gyLDLrtm1Her mice. We found that oral administration of five doses of a combination of ApoB and HSP60 peptides (20 µg/mice/dose) induced tolerance to both the peptides and reduced early plaque development by 39.9% better than the individual peptides (ApoB = 28.7%;HSP60 = 26.8%)(P<0.001). Oral tolerance to combination of peptides along with diet modification arrested plaque progression by 37.6% which was associated with increases in T-regulatory cell and transforming growth factor-β expression in the plaque and peripheral circulation. Reduced macrophage infiltration and tumor necrosis factor-α expression in the plaque was also observed. Tolerance with continued hypercholesterolemia resulted in 60.8% reduction in necrotic core area suggesting plaque stabilization, which was supported by reduction in apoptosis and increased efferocytosis demonstrated by greater expression of receptor tyrosine kinase Mer (MerTK) in the plaque. Tolerance to the two peptides also reduced the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 9, tissue factor, calprotectin, and increased its collagen content. Our study suggests that oral tolerance to ApoB and HSP60 peptide combination induces CD4+ CTLA4+ Tregs and CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs secreting TGF-β, which inhibit pathogenic T cell response to both peptides thus reducing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and provides evidence for plaque stabilization in ApoBtm25gyLDLrtm1Her mice.
PMCID: PMC3594317  PMID: 23505495
4.  Immune Response to Lipoproteins in Atherosclerosis 
Cholesterol  2012;2012:571846.
Atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease, is characterized by chronic inflammation and altered immune response. Cholesterol is a well-known risk factor associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases. Elevated serum cholesterol is unique because it can lead to development of atherosclerosis in animals and humans even in the absence of other risk factors. Modifications of low-density lipoproteins mediated by oxidation, enzymatic degradation, and aggregation result in changes in their function and activate both innate and adaptive immune system. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) has been identified as one of the most important autoantigens in atherosclerosis. This escape from self-tolerance is dependent on the formation of oxidized phospholipids. The emerging understanding of the importance of immune responses against oxidized LDL in atherosclerosis has focused attention on the possibility of development of novel therapy for atherosclerosis. This review provides an overview of immune response to lipoproteins and the fascinating possibility of developing an immunomodulatory therapy for atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3432325  PMID: 22957222
5.  Pathogen burden, cytomegalovirus infection and inflammatory markers in the risk of premature coronary artery disease in individuals of Indian origin 
Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs at an earlier age in South Asians compared with other ethnic groups. Infection and inflammation show a positive association with the disease.
To investigate the association of infection and inflammatory markers with premature CAD in the Indian Atherosclerosis Research Study population.
Antibody titres for Chlamydia pneumoniae, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Helicobacter pylori, herpes simplex virus and levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fibrinogen and secretory phospholipase A2, were measured in 866 individuals (433 CAD patients and matched controls). All individuals were followed-up for recurrent cardiac events for four years. ANOVA was used to study the association of infection and inflammation with CAD.
The present study found that the odds of CAD occurrence was 2.42 (95% CI 1.26 to 4.64; P<0.008), with all four infections and increased in the presence of hsCRP (OR 4.67 [95% CI 1.43 to 15.25]); P=0.011). Only anti-CMV antibody levels were a significant risk factor for CAD occurrence (OR 2.23 [95% CI 1.20 to 4.15]; P=0.011) and recurrent cardiac events (OR 1.94 [95% CI 0.85 to 4.45]; P=0.015). Mean values of the inflammatory biomarkers IL-6 (P=0.035), fibrinogen (P=0.014), hsCRP (P=0.010) and secretory phospholipase A2 (P=0.002) increased with CMV antibody levels. Incorporating hsCRP and IL-6 in the risk prediction models significantly increased the OR to 2.56 (95% CI 1.16 to 5.63; P=0.019) with a c statistic of 0.826.
Pathogen burden, especially CMV infection in combination with inflammatory markers, is a significant predictor of CAD risk in the young Indian population.
PMCID: PMC3395457  PMID: 22826649
Coronary artery disease; C-reactive protein; Cytomegalovirus; Inflammatory markers; Pathogen burden
6.  Understanding the expression of Toll-like receptors in Asian Indians predisposed to coronary artery disease 
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are an important link between innate and adaptive immunity.
Material and methods
Expression of TLR-2, TLR-4, and TLR-9 genes was assessed in 60 coronary artery disease (CAD) patients and 79 controls by SYBR Green 1 based real time PCR assay.
Expression of the TLR-2 gene was found to be significantly elevated in cases (1.295 ±0.09) compared to the controls (1.033 ±0.08) (p = 0.015) whereas expression of the TLR-9 gene was significantly lower in cases (1.522 ±0.18) than in the controls (2.165 ±0.16) (p = 0.032). There was no difference in TLR-4 expression levels (p = 0.174). A significant correlation of TLR-2 was observed with TLR-4 (r = 0.803, p<0.0001) and TLR-9 (r = 0.264, p = 0.003) as well as between TLR-4 and TLR-9 (r = 0.303, p = 0.001). A significant association was seen between TLR 2 (OR 3.94, 95% CI 1.73-8.99, p = 0.001) and TLR-9 (OR 0.297, 95% CI 0.131-0.672, p = 0.004) with CAD after adjustment for age and gender. Statins did not affect TLR gene expression.
The TLR-2, TLR-4 and TLR-9 genes exhibit a differential pattern of expression between CAD patients and controls in this Asian Indian cohort. This observation warrants further investigation, keeping in mind the infectious and inflammatory elements in perspective, in order to understand the true implications of TLR in the aetiopathology of CAD and consequent therapeutic implications.
PMCID: PMC3258818  PMID: 22291822
Toll-like receptors; gene expression; coronary artery disease; Asian Indians
7.  Association of Inflammatory and Oxidative Stress Markers with Metabolic Syndrome in Asian Indians in India 
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is associated with a proinflammatory state. Here, we assessed the contribution of inflammatory and oxidative stress markers towards prediction of MetS. A total of 2316 individuals were recruited in Phase I of the Indian Atherosclerosis Research Study (IARS). Modified ATPIII guidelines were used for classification of subjects with MetS. Among the inflammatory and oxidative stress markers studied, levels of hsCRP (P < .0001), Neopterin (P = .036), and oxLDL (P < .0001) were significantly higher among subjects with MetS. Among the markers we tested, oxLDL stood out as a robust predictor of MetS in the IARS population (OR 4.956 95% CI 2.504–9.810; P < .0001) followed by hsCRP (OR 1.324 95% CI 1.070–1.638; P = .010). In conclusion, oxLDL is a candidate predictor for MetS in the Asian Indian population.
PMCID: PMC3018645  PMID: 21234321
8.  Friend Turns Foe: Transformation of Anti-Inflammatory HDL to Proinflammatory HDL during Acute-Phase Response 
Cholesterol  2010;2011:274629.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is a major carrier of cholesterol in the blood. Unlike other lipoproteins, physiological functions of HDL influence the cardiovascular system in favorable ways except when HDL is modified pathologically. The cardioprotective mechanism of HDL is mainly based on reverse cholesterol transport, but there has been an emerging interest in the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant roles of HDL. These latter activities of HDL are compromised in many pathological states associated with inflammation. Further, abnormal HDL can become proinflammatory contributing to oxidative damage. In this paper, we discuss the functional heterogeneity of HDL, how alterations in these particles in inflammatory states result in loss of both antioxidant activity and reverse cholesterol transport in relation to atherosclerosis, and the need for assays to predict its functionality.
PMCID: PMC3065911  PMID: 21490770
9.  Usefulness of C-Reactive Protein as a Marker for Prediction of Future Coronary Events in the Asian Indian Population: Indian Atherosclerosis Research Study 
Inflammation plays a pivotal role in all stages of atherosclerosis. Numerous inflammatory, lipid, and cytokines markers have been associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) risk but data directly comparing their predictive value are limited. Studies were carried to elucidate the role of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), other inflammatory as well as lipid markers and their associations. Among 1021 subjects, comprising 774 CAD affected members from Indian Atherosclerosis Research Study (IARS), plasma hsCRP levels showed strong correlation with inflammatory markers, namely, IL6 (r = .373; P = <.0001), sPLA2 (r = .544; P = <.0001) as also with fibrinogen (r = .579; P = <.0001). Levels of hsCRP were higher among subjects affected by CAD who suffered a repeat coronary event as compared to those who remained event free and subjects in the top quartile of hsCRP (>3.58 mg/L) were found to have a fourfold higher risk. In conclusion, hsCRP appears to be an independent predictor of recurrent CAD events in Asian Indian population.
PMCID: PMC2989863  PMID: 21152190
10.  Implications of Genetic Polymorphisms in Inflammation-Induced Atherosclerosis 
Inflammation is the mainstay of atherosclerosis and is an important governing factor at all stages of the disease process from lesion formation to plaque build-up and final end-stage rupture and thrombosis. An overview of the numerous clinico-epidemiological studies on the association between inflammatory gene polymorphisms and Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its co-morbidities have shown that the risk associated with any single genotype is modest while the haplotypes, especially those defined on the basis of tag-SNP approach, have better coverage of the gene and show moderately higher impact on disease risk. Nevertheless, even these associations have been inconsistent with low cross-race repeatability. This has been attributed to many plausible causes such as clinical heterogeneity, sample selection criteria, variable genetic landscapes across different ethnic groups, confounding effect of co-morbidities etc. On the other hand, unbiased studies such as the family-based linkage and case-control based associations that have taken into account, thousands of genotypic markers spanning the whole genome, have had the ability to identify novel genetic loci for coronary artery disease. These studies have shown that many inflammatory genes are involved in the regulation of specific biomarkers of inflammation that collectively contribute to the disease-associated risk. In addition, there appears to be considerable cross talk between the different biochemical and metabolic processes. Therefore, consideration of all these factors can build towards an ‘atherosclerotic bionetwork’ that can refine our quest for developing a robust risk stratification tool for cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2840586  PMID: 21804639
Inflammation; Biomarkers; Genes; Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms; Atherosclerosis.
11.  Genetic studies on the APOA1-C3-A5 gene cluster in Asian Indians with premature coronary artery disease 
The APOA1-C3-A5 gene cluster plays an important role in the regulation of lipids. Asian Indians have an increased tendency for abnormal lipid levels and high risk of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Therefore, the present study aimed to elucidate the relationship of four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Apo11q cluster, namely the -75G>A, +83C>T SNPs in the APOA1 gene, the Sac1 SNP in the APOC3 gene and the S19W variant in the APOA5 gene to plasma lipids and CAD in 190 affected sibling pairs (ASPs) belonging to Asian Indian families with a strong CAD history.
Methods & results
Genotyping and lipid assays were carried out using standard protocols. Plasma lipids showed a strong heritability (h2 48% – 70%; P < 0.0001). A subset of 77 ASPs with positive sign of Logarithm of Odds (LOD) score showed significant linkage to CAD trait by multi-point analysis (LOD score 7.42, P < 0.001) and to Sac1 (LOD score 4.49) and -75G>A (LOD score 2.77) SNPs by single-point analysis (P < 0.001). There was significant proportion of mean allele sharing (pi) for the Sac1 (pi 0.59), -75G>A (pi 0.56) and +83C>T (pi 0.52) (P < 0.001) SNPs, respectively. QTL analysis showed suggestive evidence of linkage of the Sac1 SNP to Total Cholesterol (TC), High Density Lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) with LOD scores of 1.42, 1.72 and 1.19, respectively (P < 0.01). The Sac1 and -75G>A SNPs along with hypertension showed maximized correlations with TC, TG and Apo B by association analysis.
The APOC3-Sac1 SNP is an important genetic variant that is associated with CAD through its interaction with plasma lipids and other standard risk factors among Asian Indians.
PMCID: PMC2556320  PMID: 18801202
12.  Application of cardiovascular disease risk prediction models and the relevance of novel biomarkers to risk stratification in Asian Indians 
The increasing pressure on health resources has led to the emergence of risk assessment as an essential tool in the management of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Concern exists regarding the validity of their generalization to all populations. Existing risk scoring models do not incorporate emerging ‘novel’ risk factors. In this context, the aim of the study was to examine the relevance of British, European, and Framingham predictive CVD risk scores to the asymptomatic high risk Indian population. Blood samples drawn from the participants were analyzed for various ‘traditional’ and ‘novel’ biomarkers, and their CVD risk factor profiling was also done. The Framingham model defined only 5% of the study cohort to be at high risk, which appears to be an underestimation of CVD risk in this genetically predisposed population. These subjects at high risk had significantly elevated levels of lipid, pro-inflammatory, pro-thrombotic, and serological markers. It is more relevant to develop risk predictive scores for application to the Indian population. This study substantiates the argument that alternative approaches to risk stratification are required in order to make them more adaptable and applicable to different populations with varying risk factor and disease patterns.
PMCID: PMC2464770  PMID: 18629375
atherosclerosis; risk factors; risk score; Framingham; plasma biomarkers
13.  Prevalence and component analysis of metabolic syndrome: An Indian atherosclerosis research study perspective 
Asian Indians have a high predisposition to metabolic syndrome (MS) and coronary artery disease (CAD). The present study aimed to estimate MS prevalence in 531 Asian Indian families comprising of 2318 individuals. Anthropometrics and lipid profile were assessed. MS prevalence was estimated using standard Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP-III) and World Health Organisation (WHO) criteria and modified definitions which included lowered cut-offs for waist circumference (WC) (≥90 cm for men and ≥80 cm for women], body mass index (BMI) (≥23 kg/m2) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) levels. ATP-III criteria identified a significantly higher proportion of people with MS (N = 933; 40.3%) compared with WHO (N = 708; 30.6%; p < 0.0001) while modified ATP-III showed maximum gain in percent prevalence among the revised criteria (17.3%; p = 0.0056). The IDF criteria identified similar proportion of subjects with MS (N = 809; 34.9%) as the revised WHO criteria (N = 792; 34.2%). The number of MS subjects was highest in the 50–59 years age group. MS was diagnosed a decade earlier in unaffected subjects compared with those with CAD/diabetes using the modified MS criteria. WC correlated significantly with BMI and waist–hip ratio (WHR) (p = 0.000). Among MS components, high density lipoprotein cholesterol and BMI contributed significantly in males (71.4% and 85.9%) and females (86.8% and 88.8%), respectively. The higher percentage contribution of WC among males and WHR among females indicates the influence of gynecoid/android pelvis on WHR measures. In conclusion, the revision of definition criteria for MS with lowered cut-offs for WC and BMI is critical for the accurate assessment of MS among Asian Indians.
PMCID: PMC2464750  PMID: 18629355
15.  Adult nontwin sib concordance rates for type 2 diabetes, hypertension and metabolic syndrome among Asian Indians: The Indian Atherosclerosis Research Study 
Vascular Health and Risk Management  2007;3(6):1063-1068.
Diabetes (DM), hypertension (HTN), and metabolic syndrome (MS) are established cardiovascular risk factors with a complex etiology. The aim of the present study was to estimate the rates of concordance for the above coronary risk factors between siblings in Asian Indian families with premature coronary artery disease (CAD). Spouse concordance rates were used to evaluate the relative contribution of shared genes and lifestyle towards these traits. A total of 508 families comprising of 1250 sib-pairs and 463 corresponding spouse-pairs were analyzed. Concordance rates were manually determined. Plasma lipids were estimated by standard enzymatic assay. The concordance rates among sib-pairs for DM, HTN, and MS was 11% (N = 136), 14% (N = 174), and 23% (N = 287), while the corresponding concordance for spouse-pairs was 2.8% (N = 13), 6.3% (N = 29), and 28.1% (N = 130), respectively. Employing Chi-square test, sib-pairs showed significantly higher concordance for diabetes (p ≤ 0.0001) and hypertension (p < 0.0001) while spouse-pairs had higher concordance for metabolic syndrome (p = 0.033) in our study. These findings suggest a probable dominant genetic component in the causation of DM and HTN and a predominantly nongenetic component for metabolic syndrome among Asian Indians.
PMCID: PMC2350127  PMID: 18200825
sib-pairs; spouse-pairs; type 2 diabetes; hypertension; metabolic syndrome; concordance; CAD; Asian Indians

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