-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- An increased risk for
coronary artery disease can be passed genetically from father to
son on the male Y chromosome, a new study says.
The Y chromosome, a part of DNA present only in men, appears to
play a role in the inheritance of coronary artery disease,
according to researchers at the University of Leicester in England
and their colleagues.
They analyzed DNA from more than 3,000 biologically unrelated
men in the United Kingdom and found that 90 percent had variants of
Y chromosomes belonging to one of two major groups -- haplogroup I
and haplogroup R1b1b2.
Men with a Y chromosome from haplogroup I have a 50 percent
higher risk of coronary artery disease than other men, and that
risk is independent of risk factors such as smoking, high blood
pressure and high cholesterol, the researchers found. Those men
account for up to 20 percent of men in Britain, they said.
They attributed this increased risk to the effect of the
haplogroup I Y chromosome on the immune system and
"We are very excited about these findings as they put the Y chromosome on the map of genetic susceptibility to coronary artery disease. We wish to further analyze the human Y chromosome to find specific genes and variants that drive this association," principal investigator Dr. Maciej Tomaszewski, a clinical senior lecturer in the department of cardiovascular sciences, said in a university news release.
"The major novelty of these findings is that the human Y chromosome appears to play a role in the cardiovascular system beyond its traditionally perceived determination of male sex," Tomaszewski added.
The study appears online Feb. 8 in
Coronary artery disease is narrowing of the blood vessels that
supply blood and oxygen to the heart. This can lead to angina
symptoms and heart attacks. It develops in men about a decade
earlier than in women.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
coronary artery disease.
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