BACKGROUND - Coronary artery calcified atherosclerotic plaque (CAC) predicts cardiovascular disease (CVD). Despite exposure to more severe conventional CVD risk factors, African Americans (AAs) are less likely to develop CAC, and when they do, have markedly lower levels than European Americans. Genetic factors likely contribute to the observed ethnic differences. To identify genes associated with CAC in AAs with type 2 diabetes (T2D), a genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed using the Illumina 5 M chip in 691 African American-Diabetes Heart Study participants (AA-DHS), with replication in 205 Jackson Heart Study (JHS) participants with T2D. Genetic association tests were performed on the genotyped and 1000 Genomes-imputed markers separately for each study, and combined in a meta-analysis.
RESULTS - Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs11353135 (2q22.1), rs16879003 (6p22.3), rs5014012, rs58071836 and rs10244825 (all on chromosome 7), rs10918777 (9q31.2), rs13331874 (16p13.3) and rs4459623 (18q12.1) were associated with presence and/or quantity of CAC in the AA-DHS and JHS, with meta-analysis p-values ≤8.0 × 10. The strongest result in AA-DHS alone was rs6491315 in the 13q32.1 region (parameter estimate (SE) = -1.14 (0.20); p-value = 9.1 × 10). This GWAS peak replicated a previously reported AA-DHS CAC admixture signal (rs7492028, LOD score 2.8).
CONCLUSIONS - Genetic association between SNPs on chromosomes 2, 6, 7, 9, 16 and 18 and CAC were detected in AAs with T2D from AA-DHS and replicated in the JHS. These data support a role for genetic variation on these chromosomes as contributors to CAC in AAs with T2D, as well as to variation in CAC between populations of African and European ancestry.