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Gene Variants Linked to Abnormal Lipids Identified

Researchers find 59 genetic variants significantly associated with lipid traits for the first time

MONDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Identification of 95 genetic variants implicated in lipoprotein metabolism may provide new targets for the prevention of coronary artery disease (CAD), according to research published in the Aug. 5 issue of Nature.

In a genome-wide association study, Tanya M. Teslovich, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the genome for common variants associated with plasma lipids in more than 100,000 individuals of European ancestry. The researchers also followed up with an additional study using a mouse model to evaluate three specific genetic variants' role in lipoprotein metabolism.

The investigators found 95 significantly associated loci, with 59 showing genome-wide significant association with lipid traits for the first time. The novel associations identified included scores of loci not previously implicated in lipoprotein metabolism and single nucleotide polymorphisms near known lipid regulators. These 95 loci also contributed to lipid traits in three non-European populations -- East Asians, South Asians, and African-Americans -- as well as playing a role in normal variation in lipid traits and extreme lipid phenotypes. The researchers also identified several new loci linked to plasma lipids, which are also associated with CAD. With experiments in mouse models, the researchers validated three novel genes: GALNT2, PPP1R3B, and TTC39B.

"The data presented in this study provide a foundation from which to develop a broader biological understanding of lipoprotein metabolism and to identify potential new therapeutic opportunities," the authors write.

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