This project represents a collaborative effort among investigators of the University of Washington, the University of Vermont, University of North Carolina, and Johns Hopkins. While the therapeutic benefits of anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory therapies suggest a major role for clotting and inflammation in the etiology of myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke, the genetic determinants of the pro-thrombotic and pro-inflammatory components of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk remain poorly characterized. By building on candidate gene-CVD clinical and intermediate phenotype association results from our first grant cycle, the proposed renewal application links biologic advances in thrombosis and vascular inflammation pathways, functional genomics, population and statistical genetics, with the unique resources of Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a large, biracial cohort of older adults. Through the CHS main contract, 5,888 older adults have been followed for over 15 years, with the accrual of large number (>2,000) of clinical CVD events. Data on baseline traditional risk factors, subclinical disease, and several important inflammation/thrombosis biomarkers (fibrinogen, C-reactive protein, factor VII, and others) are also available. Through the proposed renewal, we plan to perform additional measurements of 8 plasma thrombosis biomarkers, selected on basis of our preliminary findings and rigorously defined biologic criteria, which will be utilized as intermediate phenotypes to strengthen evidence for CVD event-candidate gene association. By integrating existing candidate gene genotype data from the first cycle with >2,000 candidate genes from the NHLBI-supported CARE study and existing CHS genome-wide data (Illumina Human Hap 370CNV), we propose to evaluate thoroughly the association of thrombosis/inflammation genes with intermediate phenotypes and incident MI and stroke. Additional strengths of the application include excellent candidate gene SNP coverage in whites and African-Americans, and a flexible analytic approach that includes assessment of single- and multi-locus genotypes, haplotypes, gene-environment and gene-gene interaction. Validation of findings will occur through replication genotyping in additional cohorts with large numbers of CVD events (ARIC, Honolulu Heart Program, Women's Health Initiative), as well as in vitro and bioinformatics assessment of associated SNPs.
While the therapeutic benefits of anti-thrombotic therapies suggest a major role for clotting and inflammation in the etiology of coronary disease and stroke, the specific genetic determinants that underlie the predisposition toward vascular inflammation and thrombosis associated with cardiovascular risk remains largely unknown in older adults. Understanding the molecular background of these common but complex atherothrombotic disorders may help identify older individuals at high cardiovascular risk because of genetic or environmental differences in the inflammatory or thrombotic response to advanced atherosclerosis and may provide new directions for prevention and treatment of MI and stroke.
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