New genetic marker for heart failure identified

5 September 2016

A new genetic study has identified a potentially promising biomarker that could be used as a means of predicting congestive heart failure.

Researchers from the University of Texas and Baylor College of Medicine have studied how naturally occurring gene mutations can affect metabolic processes in the genomes of 1,361 participants of a US study investigating predictors for heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases.

A mutated gene called SLCO1B1 was shown to be associated with elevated levels of blood fatty acid, a strong predictor for the development of future heart failure, while the mutation itself was also shown to have a direct effect on heart failure risk.

The finding was made in a population of African-American participants, but the team was able to confirm the relationship also persisted in those of European descent. By studying these relationships, researchers hope to discover new pathways to identify how genes influence disease.

Study leader Dr Eric Boerwinkle, dean of the University of Texas Health Science Center, said: "Our hope with this discovery is that we can be more aggressive in treating hypertension if we know someone is genetically predisposed to heart failure."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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