The findings are set to appear in the Journal of Human Genetics online Jan. 27.
Becker, a professor at both the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a team that included researchers at Duke and Emory universities, also say their results, based on blood analysis from 548 black men and women in the Baltimore region and confirmed in several hundred more in the Atlanta and Durham, N.C., regions, help explain why earlier studies found potentially dangerous genetic connections to this type of heart disease in Caucasians, Hispanics and Asians, but failed to find a negative tie-in to the disease in blacks.
Earlier studies, says Becker, had involved genome-wide reviews in multiracial populations and taken "a needle in the haystack approach" to finding that one change in a string of some 58,000 base pairs, in a chromosomal region known as 9p21. That region, which includes CDKN2B, is associated with higher rates of coronary disease in non-blacks.
The team's latest analysis was successful, she believes, because it had a large and sufficiently broadly based black volunteer population. The study group comprised men and women between the ages of 26 and 60. Investigators also focused on the 9p21 region and a subsection of genetic material within called ANRIL that overlaps and is closely held to CDKN2B, but away from the deleterious genetic variant found earlier.
Johns Hopkins cardiologist Brian Kral, M.D., M.P.H., says the abundance of activity in this particular region of the genome, including CDK2NB and ANRIL, suggests that everyday replication of this zone could play a more fundamental, underlying role in the progression of coronary artery disease in all races.
Kral, an assistant professor a
|Contact: David March|
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions