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Baylin Group - Nutritional Epidemiology and Cardiovascular Disease
Coronary Artery Calcification
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
About this Project
Coronary Artery Calcification (CAC) is a subclinical measure of coronary artery atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries underlies most cases of myocardial infarction (MI) and other clinically apparent coronary heart diseases (CHD). The presence and extent of coronary atherosclerosis may be determined by measurement of CAC with non-invasive, high resolution computed tomography (CT). Our studies of CAC in the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) indicate that it is heritable and associated with variation in multiple genes. CAC is a predictor of incident CHD in multiple ethnic populations in a strong, graded positive manner after adjustment for other traditional CHD risk factors Systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and pulse pressure have age-dependent roles in the prediction of the presence and quantity of CAC, similar to their roles in prediction of future CHD events. We work closely with Drs. Peyser and Bielak who have been pioneers in the epidemiology and genetics of CAC. Their original studies established the utility of CAC and its replicability as a measure of coronary artery atherosclerosis. In the GENOA sample, linkage signals have been found on multiple chromosomes (1p,4p,5q,6p,7p,10q,13q,14q). The GENOA participants are part of a large discovery sample (almost 10,000 individuals) that has identified GWAS signals in the 9p21 and PHACTR1 gene loci strongly associated with CAC and MI, and identified suggestive associations with both CAC and MI of SNPs in additional loci.(O'Donnell et al. submitted ). We are currenlty studying gene-risk factor interactions associated with variation in CAC risk among the GENOA participants.
Image courtesy of Duncan Creamer.