Genetic variant increases triglyceride levels in Asian-Americans

Jul 17, 2008

A genetic variant found almost exclusively in individuals of Asian descent increases the risk of elevated triglycerides over four-fold, reports a comprehensive study in the August Journal of Lipid Research. In fact, all 11 subjects who carried both copies of this rare variant for apolipoprotein A-V had extremely high and dangerous triglyceride levels in their blood.

Apolipoprotein A-V is a recently discovered lipid-binding protein that likely plays an important role in metabolizing triglycerides. Some population studies with groups in China and Taiwan indicate that a polymorphism in the APOA5 gene (553 G>T shift) is associated with elevated plasma TG levels, which like cholesterol, increase the risk of heart disease.

To get a broader view of this potentially important gene polymorphism, Clive Pullinger and colleagues examined the frequency and impact of this variant in a population of Chinese-Americans, as well as four other Asian-American populations (Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander).

The researchers examined 541 individuals and found that 15.1% of Chinese-Americans with high plasma TG (>150 mg/dl) carried at least one copy of the 553T variant, compared with only 3.7% of those with normal TG levels; in non-Chinese Asians these values were 13.7% and 5.4%. When calculated, the 553T variant corresponds to a 4.4 and 2.5 times greater risk of elevated TG in Chinese-Americans and other Asians, respectively.

The frequency became even more prevalent at higher levels; 60% of individuals with TG of >500 mg/dl carried the variant, and at 1000 mg/dl the frequency rose to 80%. And the 11 subjects who had the variant in both copies of their APOA5 gene had an average TG concentration of over 2000 mg/dl, which can pose serious health risks.

Source: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Explore further: Baits, underwater cameras to help count world's sharks

Related Stories

Researchers discover new mechanism of DNA repair

8 hours ago

The DNA molecule is chemically unstable giving rise to DNA lesions of different nature. That is why DNA damage detection, signaling and repair, collectively known as the DNA damage response, are needed.

Recommended for you

Scientists develop free, online genetic research tool

40 minutes ago

Technology rapidly is advancing the study of genetics and the search for causes of major diseases. Analysis of genomic sequences that once took days or months now can be performed in a matter of hours. Yet, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.