Background: Atherosclerosis - a major cause of vascular disease, including ischemic heart disease (IHD), is a pathology that has a two-fold higher mortality rate in the Azorean Islands compared to mainland Portugal. Aim: This cross-sectional study investigated the role of genetic variation in the prevalence of atherosclerosis in this population. Subjects and methods: A total of 305 individuals were characterized for polymorphisms in eight susceptibility genes for atherosclerosis: ACE, PAI1, NOS3, LTA, FGB, ITGB3, PON1 and APOE. Data were analysed with respect to phenotypic characteristics such as blood pressure, lipid profile, life-style risk factors and familial history of myocardial infarction. Results: In the total sample, frequencies for hypercholestrolemic, hypertensive and obese individuals were 63.6%, 39.3% and 23.3%, respectively. The genetic profile was similar to that observed in other European populations, namely in mainland Portugal. No over-representation of risk alleles was evidenced in this sample. Conclusions: One has to consider the possibility of an important non-genetic influence on the high cholesterolemia present in the Azorean population. Since diet is the most important life-style risk factor for dyslipidemia, studies aiming to evaluate the dietary characteristics of this population and its impact on serum lipid levels will be of major importance. © 2011 Informa UK, Ltd.
- ischemic heart disease
- susceptibility genes