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Expression profiling of macrophages from subjects with atherosclerosis to identify novel susceptibility genes

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Although a number of environmental risk factors for atherosclerosis have been identified, heredity seems to be a significant independent risk factor. The aim of our study was to identify novel susceptibility genes for atherosclerosis. The screening process consisted of three steps. First, expression profiles of macrophages from subjects with atherosclerosis were compared to macrophages from control subjects. Secondly, the subjects were genotyped for promoter region polymorphisms in genes with altered gene expression. Thirdly, a population of subjects with coronary heart disease and control subjects were genotyped to test for an association with identified polymorphisms that affected gene expression. Twenty-seven genes were differentially expressed in both macrophages and foam cells from subjects with atherosclerosis. Three of these genes, IRS2, CD86 and SLC11A1 were selected for further analysis. Foam cells from subjects homozygous for the C allele at the -765C↷T SNP located in the promoter region of IRS2 had increased gene expression compared to foam cells from subjects with the nonCC genotype. Also, macrophages and foam cells from subjects homozygous for allele 2 at a repeat element in the promoter region of SLC11A1 had increased gene expression compared to macrophages and foam cells from subjects with the non22 genotype. Genotyping of 512 pairs of subjects with coronary heart disease (CHD) and matched controls revealed that subjects homozygous for C of the IRS2 SNP had an increased risk for CHD; odds ratio 1.43, p=0.010. Immunohistochemical staining of human carotid plaques showed that IRS2 expression was localised to macrophages and endothelial cells in vivo. Our method provides a reliable approach for identifying susceptibility genes for atherosclerosis, and we conclude that elevated IRS2 gene expression in macrophages may be associated with an increased risk of CHD.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden

Publication date: January 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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