Heme Oxygenase-1 Gene Promoter Microsatellite Polymorphism Is Associated With Progressive Atherosclerosis and Incident Cardiovascular Disease
Objective—The enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) exerts cytoprotective effects in response to various cellular stressors. A variable number tandem repeat polymorphism in the HO-1 gene promoter region has previously been linked to cardiovascular disease. We examined this association prospectively in the general population.
Approach and Results—Incidence of stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death was registered between 1995 and 2010 in 812 participants of the Bruneck Study aged 45 to 84 years (49.4% males). Carotid atherosclerosis progression was quantified by high-resolution ultrasound. HO-1 variable number tandem repeat length was determined by polymerase chain reaction. Subjects with ≥32 tandem repeats on both HO-1 alleles compared with the rest of the population (recessive trait) featured substantially increased cardiovascular disease risk (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval], 5.45 [2.39, 12.42]; P<0.0001), enhanced atherosclerosis progression (median difference in atherosclerosis score [interquartile range], 2.1 [0.8, 5.6] versus 0.0 [0.0, 2.2] mm; P=0.0012), and a trend toward higher levels of oxidized phospholipids on apolipoprotein B-100 (median oxidized phospholipids/apolipoprotein B level [interquartile range], 11364 [4160, 18330] versus 4844 [3174, 12284] relative light units; P=0.0554). Increased cardiovascular disease risk in those homozygous for ≥32 repeats was also detected in a pooled analysis of 7848 participants of the Bruneck, SAPHIR, and KORA prospective studies (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval], 3.26 [1.50, 7.33]; P=0.0043).
Conclusions—This study found a strong association between the HO-1 variable number tandem repeat polymorphism and cardiovascular disease risk confined to subjects with a high number of repeats on both HO-1 alleles and provides evidence for accelerated atherogenesis and decreased antioxidant defense in this vascular high-risk group.
- Received March 28, 2014.
- Accepted October 14, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.