Current Genetic Medicine Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 116–123 | Cite as

Genetics of Subclinical Coronary Atherosclerosis

  • Lawrence F. BielakEmail author
  • Patricia A. Peyser
Cardiovascular Genetics (B Mitchell, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Cardiovascular Genetics


Purpose of Review

This review highlights recent findings regarding genetics of coronary artery calcification (CAC), a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis burden, that is a precursor of clinical coronary artery disease.

Recent Findings

CAC quantity is heritable. Genome-wide association studies of common single nucleotide polymorphisms have identified genomic regions explaining ~ 2.4% of CAC heritability. Low-frequency and rare variants explain additional variation in CAC. Evidence suggests that there may be different genetic etiologies for variation in CAC progression than for cross-sectional measures of CAC. Studies integrating multiple -omics data are providing new insights into the pathobiology of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis.


The future is promising for innovative studies utilizing whole genome sequencing data as well as other -omics such as epigenomic modifications of genes and gene expression. These studies may provide multiple sources of data pointing to the same gene or pathway, thus providing greater confidence in findings.


MESH Atherosclerosis Coronary artery disease Disease progression Genomics Epigenomics 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Bielak and Dr. Peyser report grants from NIH/NHLBI during the conduct of study.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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