Article

Genetic Ancestry Is Associated With Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease in African-Americans and Hispanics From the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Department of Family and Prevention Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA 92093-0965, USA.
Circulation Cardiovascular Genetics (Impact Factor: 5.34). 12/2009; 2(6):629-36. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.109.876243
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Differences in cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden exist among racial/ethnic groups in the United States, with African-Americans having the highest prevalence. Subclinical CVD measures have also been shown to differ by race or ethnicity. In the United States, there has been a significant intermixing among racial/ethnic groups creating admixed populations. Very little research exists on the relationship of genetic ancestry and subclinical CVD measures.
These associations were investigated in 712 black and 705 Hispanic participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis candidate gene substudy. Individual ancestry was estimated from 199 genetic markers using STRUCTURE. Associations of ancestry and coronary artery calcium (CAC) and common and internal carotid intima media thickness were evaluated using log-binomial and linear regression models. Splines indicated linear associations of ancestry with subclinical CVD measures in African-Americans but presence of threshold effects in Hispanics. Among African-Americans, each SD increase in European ancestry was associated with an 8% (95% CI, 1.02 to 1.15; P=0.01) higher CAC prevalence. Each SD increase in European ancestry was also associated with a 2% (95% CI -3.4% to -0.5%, P=0.008) lower common carotid intima media thickness in African-Americans. Among Hispanics, the highest tertile of European ancestry was associated with a 34% higher CAC prevalence (P=0.02) when compared with the lowest tertile.
The linear association of ancestry and subclinical CVD suggests that genetic effects may be important in determining CAC and carotid intima media thickness among African-Americans. Our results also suggest that CAC and common carotid intima media thickness may be important phenotypes for further study with admixture mapping.

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