Associations between specific ApoE genetic variants and their interactions with environmental factors in relation to the lipid profile of black South Africans
Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of global mortality and its prevalence is increasing among black South Africans in spite of their favourable lipid profile. Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is a well-described risk factor for CVD and certain polymorphisms within this gene alter the lipid profile. The author hypothesised that there are population-specific effects within the ApoE gene that are responsible for the favourable lipid profile observed in black South Africans whose effects are being altered by environmental factors. Objectives: The main aim of this study was to investigate the associations between specific ApoE single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the lipid profile of a black South African population, taking into account certain environmental and phenotypic factors in order to explore the interaction effects between these variables. Methods: Genotyping within this cross-sectional study (n=1 588), nested within the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, was achieved using Illumina‘s® GoldenGate Genotyping Assay with VeraCode® technology on the BeadXpress® platform (proprietary multiplex fluorescent hybridisation assays on a bead array substrate) or the Bio-Rad CFX Manager© (version 2.0). The Konelab20i™ auto analyser was used for quantitative determination of serum total cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglyceride (TG) concentrations. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations were estimated by the Friedewald equation. Results: All SNPs adhered to the assumptions of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, yet the frequency of the SNPs often differed from that reported in other ethnic groups. The well-reported rs429358 and rs7412 SNPs (as the constituent SNPs of the haplotype-genotypes) presented with the strongest associations with various components of the blood lipid profile in the black South African cohort under investigation. Two gene-environment (rs405509 and rs7412) interaction effects on TG remained significant after conducting post hoc tests. Two genotype-phenotype interaction effects between the rs7412 SNP and body mass index and gamma-glutamyl transferase on the HDL-C concentrations remained significant after conducting post hoc tests. Conclusions: The variety of associations between these particular SNPs and the blood lipid profile determined in the present cohort strongly indicates that it is integral to any public health investigation into CVD development that these SNPs be investigated. This study further produced greater insight into the biological mechanisms underlying serum lipid and cholesterol concentrations in a black South African population. Therefore, from these results it is evident that the lipid profile of black South Africans is most definitely influenced by not only genetic variations in the ApoE gene and certain environmental factors, but by the interaction between these factors as well. The present study is the largest study to date to investigate the effect of polymorphisms in the ApoE gene on the lipid profile of black South Africans.
- Health Sciences