The cardiovascular (C-V) aging in terms of arterial and cardiac structure/function (CV indices) reflects complex interplay between the intrinsic aging effect, burden of CV risk factors in a genetic background and environmental changes beginning in early life, including in utero. This interplay is governed by gene expression mediated in part by epigenetic mechanisms. This renewal application focuses on these aspects in a community-based, black white cohort entering midlife and followed since childhood in the Bogalusa Heart Study.
The Specific Aims of the proposed research are: 1) to continue characterizing the trajectories of cardio-metabolic risk variables since childhood and the familial longevity trait in relation to the arterial and cardiac structure/function (C-V indices);2) to test the hypothesis tht birth weight affects longitudinal changes of DNA methylation (genome-wide and in candidate genes) during adulthood by race;3) to test the hypothesis that there is a temporal relationship between DNA methylation patterns (global and gene-specific) and C-V risk variables measured over 12-20 years;and 4) to determine effect of global and gene-specific DNA methylation in conjunction with candidate gene variants and birth weight on subclinical C-V indices. The proposed study cohort consists of 800 white and 550 black unrelated adults, aged 29-52 years, who have C-V risk factor variables measured serially 6-15 times from childhood, birth weight, adulthood C-V indices, genotype data (38 candidate genes) and stored blood samples (baseline and follow-up, 12-20 years apart). The C-V indices include left ventricular mass and geometric remodeling, carotid artery wall thickness and compliance;candidate genes include those related to C-V risk, fetal growth and one-carbon metabolism. DNA methylation will be measured for the whole genome and 38 genes using Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. Multivariable regression analyses will be used to examine the birth weight-methylation, gene-methylation and methylation-outcome associations. Findings from this research will further the understanding of the predisposing factors that influence C-V aging in a biracial population reaching mid-life, which have implications for preventive strategies.

Public Health Relevance

Heart attack determined by genetic and environmental factors represents a major public health burden worldwide;however, the aspect of the gene-environment interaction is largely unknown. Findings from this study will provide a potential explanation for the joint impact of genes, DNA modifications and fetal growth on cardiovascular disease risk and have implications in prevention strategies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Cardiovascular and Sleep Epidemiology (CASE)
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Rossi, Winifred K
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Tulane University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
New Orleans
United States
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