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Nitric Oxide Gene Linked to Heart Disease in Diabetics

Study finds 1.5-fold increased risk for heart disease with an intron 8 polymorphism in eNOS gene

THURSDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetic men with certain variations in the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) gene are at a higher risk of coronary heart disease, according to a study in the July issue of Diabetes.

Cuilin Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues genotyped common polymorphisms in the eNOS gene in 861 diabetic men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, 220 of whom had developed coronary heart disease.

The investigators found the risk for coronary heart disease was 1.5-fold higher in carriers of a non-coding region polymorphism in intron 8 of the eNOS gene compared with non-carriers. In control subjects without coronary heart disease, this variation along with -786T>C and Glu298Asp polymorphisms were associated with higher concentrations of plasma soluble VCAM1 and ICAM-1, markers of endothelial dysfunction.

"Our data suggested that -786T>C, Glu298Asp, and an intron 8 polymorphism of the eNOS gene are potentially involved in the atherogenic pathway among U.S. diabetic men," the authors conclude. "It will be important to confirm these findings with additional investigations among larger samples of diabetic patients."

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