American Journal of Pharmacogenomics

, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp 317–328 | Cite as

Genetic Polymorphisms in Cytokine and Adhesion Molecule Genes in Coronary Artery Disease

  • Johann AuerEmail author
  • Thomas Weber
  • Robert Berent
  • Eliabeth Lassnig
  • Gudrun Lamm
  • Bernd Eber
Genomics in Human Disease


Both inflammation and genetics play an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Epidemiological studies have investigated the association between coronary artery disease (CAD) and gene polymorphisms of the inflammatory molecules tumor necrosis factors (TNF) α and β, transforming growth factors (TGF) β-1 and β-2, interleukin (IL)-1 and its receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), CD 14 (the receptor for lipopolysaccharide), P- and E-selectins, and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM)-1.

Current evidence suggests that the TNF polymorphisms explored so far are not linked to CAD. The majority of studies conducted showed no significant association between TGFβ-1 and coronary atherosclerosis, but the data currently available are somewhat controversial. Some polymorphisms may increase the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) within specific ethnic groups or in certain populations. The association between the IL-1 system and atherosclerosis is complex and may vary as a result of a number of factors, such as stage of disease, clinical phenotype, and possibly population characteristics.

The E-selectin gene (SELE) Arg128, 98T, and Phe554 alleles may increase the risk of atherosclerosis, but not necessarily the risk of MI. This association seems to be more pronounced in younger patients. The PECAM1 Leu125Val and Ser563Asn polymorphisms may increase the risk of atherosclerosis but not necessarily of MI. This association may be especially important in patients with a low risk for developing atherosclerosis.

Current data indicate that screening for CD14-260C/T genotypes is unlikely to be a useful tool for risk assessment and it remains unclear whether CD14 polymorphisms significantly increase the risk of MI.

The associations between candidate gene polymorphisms and CAD are complex as a consequence of pleiotropy, variations with age, selection due to the high lethality of the disease, and interactions with other genes and environmental factors. Nonetheless, although the current data is preliminary and partly conflicting, it does provide some evidence that alterations in the genetics of the inflammatory system may modify the risk of CAD.


Coronary Artery Disease Coronary Atherosclerosis Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule Major Histocompatibility Complex Haplotype Tumor Necrosis Factor Gene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors have provided no information on sources of funding or on conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johann Auer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Weber
    • 1
  • Robert Berent
    • 1
  • Eliabeth Lassnig
    • 1
  • Gudrun Lamm
    • 1
  • Bernd Eber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine II, Division of Cardiology and Intensive CareGeneral Hospital WelsWelsAustria

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