May 30, 2024

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Study Discovers 68 New Genes Linked to Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Study Discovers 68 New Genes Linked to Cardiovascular Disease Risk



 

Study Discovers 68 New Genes Linked to Cardiovascular Disease Risk.

Elevated resting heart rate (generally considered above 100 beats per minute) is associated with an increased risk of severe cardiovascular diseases like coronary artery disease and stroke.

While the causes of high resting heart rate (RHR) can fluctuate due to factors such as stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, and medications, it may be more challenging for individuals with genetic variants leading to elevated readings to control it within the “normal” range through lifestyle interventions.

 

Study Discovers 68 New Genes Linked to Cardiovascular Disease Risk

 

 

Researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine conducted a study involving 835,365 individuals from the UK Biobank and the International Consortium on Resting Heart Rate (IC-RHR) research dataset. They performed a genome-wide meta-analysis of 99 studies and identified 68 previously unknown genetic variants that naturally elevate RHR.

 

Dr. Marilyn Cornelis, an associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University and a co-author of the study published in Nature Communications, stated, “This is the largest study of its kind to date. In addition to expanding the list of genetic variants associated with heart rate, this research provides strong causal links between heart rate and cardiovascular health.”

 

In total, scientists discovered 493 genetic variants at 352 genetic loci, with cardiovascular tissue being the primary site for understanding how these variants alter gene expression. RHR genes exhibited the highest expression levels in ventricular and atrial cardiomyocytes, which are the muscle cells responsible for heart contractions.

 

Meta-analysis linked hereditary high RHR to an increased risk of dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart chambers enlarge and lose their ability to contract. It can lead to complications such as blood clots, arrhythmias, and chronic heart failure.

 

However, the study also revealed a reverse relationship between high RHR and other cardiovascular diseases like atrial fibrillation, ischemic stroke, and myocardial infarction.

 

Researchers did not find any association between genetic variants and increased mortality rates. According to the American Heart Association, a “normal” RHR ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, with values above this range increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

 

Researchers added that understanding how genetic variants lead to elevated RHR and its effects will help patients gain more personalized medical insights. Developing therapies to mitigate the impact of these genetic variants remains an emerging field in medicine.

 

The findings of this study were published in the journal Nature Communications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study Discovers 68 New Genes Linked to Cardiovascular Disease Risk

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