Genome-wide linkage analysis of population variation in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
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Lower plasma levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) are associated with the metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension) and higher cardiovascular risk. Recent association studies have suggested rare alleles responsible for very low HDL-C levels. However, for individual cardiovascular risk factors, the majority of population-attributable deaths are associated with average rather than extreme levels. Therefore, genetic factors that determine the population variation of HDL-C are particularly relevant. We undertook genome-wide and fine mapping to identify linkage to HDL-C in healthy adult nuclear families from the Victorian Family Heart Study. In 274 adult sibling pairs (average age 24 years, average plasma HDL-C 1.4 mmol/l), genome-wide mapping revealed suggestive evidence for linkage on chromosome 4 (Z score=3.5, 170 cM) and nominal evidence for linkage on chromosomes 1 (Z=2.1, 176 cM) and 6 (Z=2.6, 29 cM). Using genotypes and phenotypes from 932 subjects (233 of the sibling pairs and their parents), finer mapping of the locus on chromosome 4 strengthened our findings with a peak probability (Z score=3.9) at 169 cM. Our linkage data suggest that chromosome 4q32.3 is linked with normal population variation in HDL-C. This region coincides with previous reports of linkage to apolipoprotein AII (a major component of HDL) and encompasses the gene encoding the carboxypeptidase E, relevant to the metabolic syndrome and HDL-C. These findings are relevant for further understanding of the genetic determinants of cardiovascular risk at a population level.
KeywordsCholesterol Family studies Linkage analyses Population genetics (human) Quantitative trait analysis
We thank the Australian Genome Research Facility for genotyping analyses for the genome scan and Margaret Stebbing for her contribution to the Victorian Family Heart Study. This work was supported by the National Health Medical Research Council of Australia.
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