Coronary artery disease (CAD) has a significant genetic contribution that is incompletely characterized. To complement genome-wide association (GWA) studies, we conducted a large and systematic candidate gene study of CAD susceptibility, including analysis of many uncommon and functional variants. We examined 49,094 genetic variants in ∼2,100 genes of cardiovascular relevance, using a customised gene array in 15,596 CAD cases and 34,992 controls (11,202 cases and 30,733 controls of European descent; 4,394 cases and 4,259 controls of South Asian origin). We attempted to replicate putative novel associations in an additional 17,121 CAD cases and 40,473 controls. Potential mechanisms through which the novel variants could affect CAD risk were explored through association tests with vascular risk factors and gene expression. We confirmed associations of several previously known CAD susceptibility loci (eg, 9p21.3:p<10−33; LPA:p<10−19; 1p13.3:p<10−17) as well as three recently discovered loci (COL4A1/COL4A2, ZC3HC1, CYP17A1:p<5×10−7). However, we found essentially null results for most previously suggested CAD candidate genes. In our replication study of 24 promising common variants, we identified novel associations of variants in or near LIPA, IL5, TRIB1, and ABCG5/ABCG8, with per-allele odds ratios for CAD risk with each of the novel variants ranging from 1.06–1.09. Associations with variants at LIPA, TRIB1, and ABCG5/ABCG8 were supported by gene expression data or effects on lipid levels. Apart from the previously reported variants in LPA, none of the other ∼4,500 low frequency and functional variants showed a strong effect. Associations in South Asians did not differ appreciably from those in Europeans, except for 9p21.3 (per-allele odds ratio: 1.14 versus 1.27 respectively; P for heterogeneity = 0.003). This large-scale gene-centric analysis has identified several novel genes for CAD that relate to diverse biochemical and cellular functions and clarified the literature with regard to many previously suggested genes.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) has a strong genetic basis that remains poorly characterised. Using a custom-designed array, we tested the association with CAD of almost 50,000 common and low frequency variants in ∼2,000 genes of known or suspected cardiovascular relevance. We genotyped the array in 15,596 CAD cases and 34,992 controls (11,202 cases and 30,733 controls of European descent; 4,394 cases and 4,259 controls of South Asian origin) and attempted to replicate putative novel associations in an additional 17,121 CAD cases and 40,473 controls. We report the novel association of variants in or near four genes with CAD and in additional studies identify potential mechanisms by which some of these novel variants affect CAD risk. Interestingly, we found that these variants, as well as the majority of previously reported CAD variants, have similar associations in Europeans and South Asians. Contrary to prior expectations, many previously suggested candidate genes did not show evidence of any effect on CAD risk, and neither did we identify any novel low frequency alleles with strong effects amongst the genes tested. Discovery of novel genes associated with heart disease may help to further understand the aetiology of cardiovascular disease and identify new targets for therapeutic interventions.