Svati Shah and colleagues from Duke University in North Carolina examined changes in the neuropeptide Y (NPY) gene.
They found that six variants of the gene were strongly associated with the risk of developing CAD before the age of 37.
‘These young patients are a vulnerable population on whom CAD has a significant long-term impact, but they are particularly hard to identify and therefore to initiate preventive therapies for,’ Dr Shah said. ‘These and other genetic findings may help us in the future to identify these patients prior to development of CAD or their first heart attack.’
The researchers showed that the variants led to higher levels of the NPY protein in the blood. In addition, animal studies showed a link between NPY expression and the development of coronary artery disease. The research is published in the journal PloS Genetics.
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