Original Investigation

Human Genetics

, Volume 127, Issue 6, pp 629-638

First online:

West African and Amerindian ancestry and risk of myocardial infarction and metabolic syndrome in the Central Valley population of Costa Rica

  • Edward A. Ruiz-NarváezAffiliated withSlone Epidemiology Center, Boston UniversityDepartment of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
  • , Lance BareAffiliated withCelera
  • , Andre ArellanoAffiliated withCelera
  • , Joseph CataneseAffiliated withCelera
  • , Hannia CamposAffiliated withDepartment of Nutrition, Room 201, Harvard School of Public Health Email author 

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Genetic ancestry and environmental factors may contribute to the ethnic differences in risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), metabolic syndrome (MS) or its individual components. The population of the Central Valley of Costa Rica offers a unique opportunity to assess the role of genetic ancestry in these chronic diseases because it derived from the admixture of a relatively small number of founders of Southern European, Amerindian, and West African origin. We aimed to determine whether genetic ancestry is associated with risk of myocardial infarction (MI), MS and its individual components in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. We genotyped 39 ancestral informative markers in cases (n = 1,998) with a first non-fatal acute MI and population-based controls (n = 1,998) matched for age, sex, and area of residence, to estimate individual ancestry proportions. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were estimated using conditional (MI) and unconditional (MS and its components) logistic regression adjusting for relevant confounders. Mean individual ancestry proportions in cases and controls were 57.5 versus 57.8% for the Southern European, 38.4 versus 38.3% for the Amerindian and 4.1 versus 3.8% for the West African ancestry. Compared with Southern European ancestry, each 10% increase in West African ancestry was associated with a 29% increase in MI, OR (95% CI) = 1.29 (1.07, 1.56), and with a 30% increase on the risk of hypertension, OR (95% CI) = 1.30 (1.00, 1.70). Each 10% increase in Amerindian ancestry was associated with a 14% increase on the risk of MS, OR (95% CI) = 1.14 (1.00, 1.30), and 20% increase on the risk of impaired fasting glucose, OR (95% CI) = 1.20 (1.01, 1.42). These results show that the high variability of admixture proportions in the Central Valley population offers a unique opportunity to uncover the genetic basis of ethnic differences on the risk of disease.