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COX-2 Mutation Linked to Reduced Risk of MI, Stroke

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A team of researchers from Italy suggests that a mutation in the COX-2 gene may reduce an individual's risk of experiencing a myocardial infarction or atherothrombotic ischemic stroke.

“We found that the -765GC polymorphism of the COX-2 gene is associated with a reduction in the risk of MI and stroke, suggesting that this [variation] may offer protection against clinical events related to atherosclerotic plaque rupture,” the authors wrote in their study, which appears in the May 12 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

It is widely believed that MI and stroke result from "multifaceted interactions" between an individual's genes and many environmental factors. Plus, the relationship between COX-2 variants and the risk of MI and stroke "has not been clear," the scientists said. This new research, led by Francesco Cipollone of the G. d'Annunzio University of Chieti and G. d'Annunzio University Foundation, may offer additional clues.

To arrive at the results, Cipollone's team sought to determine if there was a relationship between a variation in the COX-2 gene — the -765G-C polymorphism — and clinically evident plaque rupture. The group studied 864 patients with first MI or atherothrombotic ischemic stroke, and 864 hospitalized controls. The groups were matched for age, sex, body mass index, smoking, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes.

The researchers found that the prevalence of this mutation was 2.41 times higher among the controls than among the MI and stroke patients. The prevalence of a different variant — -765CC — was 5.81 times higher among the controls than among the MI and stroke patients.

“Patients with the -765GC or -765CC genotype had a reduction in relative risk of MI and ischemic stroke of 52 percent and 67 percent, respectively, after adjustment for age, sex, smoking status, body mass index, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and diabetes,” the researchers reported.

—KL

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