Human Y Chromosome Linked to Coronary Artery Disease Risk

Risk of coronary artery disease ~50 percent higher for British carriers of haplogroup I

THURSDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Human Y chromosome lineage is associated with coronary artery disease risk, according to a study published online Feb. 9 in The Lancet.

To investigate the role of the Y chromosome in the sexual dimorphism of coronary artery disease, Fadi J. Charchar, Ph.D., from the University of Ballarat in Australia, and colleagues genotyped 11 markers of the Y chromosome in 3,233 biologically unrelated British men. Participants were recruited from three cohorts: the British Heart Foundation Family Heart Study (BHF-FHS), the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study (WOSCOPS), and the Cardiogenics Study. Associations between common Y chromosome lineages, defined as haplogroups, and the risk of coronary artery disease were assessed.

The investigators identified nine haplogroups, two of which (R1b1b2 and I) accounted for approximately 90 percent of the Y chromosome variants. The age-adjusted risk of coronary artery disease was approximately 50 percent higher in carriers of haplogroup I, compared with men with other Y chromosome lineages in the BHF-FHS (odds ratio [OR], 1.75), WOSCOPS (OR, 1.45), and joint analysis of BHF-FHS and WOSCOPS (OR, 1.56). This correlation was independent of traditional cardiovascular and socioeconomic variables. Based on macrophage transcriptome analyses in the Cardiogenics Study, 19 molecular pathways were identified from men with haplogroup I that showed differential expression from other Y chromosome lineages and were interconnected by common genes related to inflammation and immunity, some of which were strongly related to atherosclerosis.

"The human Y chromosome is associated with risk of coronary artery disease in men of European ancestry, possibly through interactions of immunity and inflammation," the authors write.

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