Genes can increase risk of heart attack

November 12, 2013

A variation in a gene which affects a large proportion of the population is correlated with a higher risk for myocardial infarction. Anaysis of data from the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II) contributed to this finding. The researchers report their results in the latest issue of the scientific journal “Nature”.

Starting with a severely affected family, a research team led by Jeanette Erdmann, Christian Hengstenberg and Heribert Schunkert,  University of Lübeck and Deutsches Herzzentrum München, identified a novel mechanism leading to myocardial infarction. Specifically, the scientists detected two mutations that jointly blocked nitric oxide signalling in platelets leading to accelerated thrombus formation. Another variant of the same enzyme, affecting a large proportion of the population, was also found to affect coronary risk, albeit to a much lesser extent. Scientists from the Berliner Age Study II (BASE-II) participated with recent data from the BASE-II study. Co-authors is the chair of the BASE-II consortium, Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen, professor at the Charité Berlin, as well as Lars Bertram from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, and Shu-Chen Li, who is an associated scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. The work was published on November 10th in the prestigious journal "Nature".

Find the press release in the box of the left. 

Find the article "Dysfunctional nitric oxide signalling increases risk of myocardial infarction". In: Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature12722.

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