The influence of genetic polymorphisms of fibrinogen genes on changes in total fibrinogen and fibrinogen gamma prime concentrations over time in black South Africans
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INTRODUCTION AND AIM - Cardiovascular disease is globally a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality. It is caused by various factors, one of which is an abnormal haemostatic process. Fibrinogen is a haemostatic factor that is considered to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Elevated fibrinogen can be caused by environmental and genetic factors which increase the risk of the occurrence of thrombosis. The fibrinogen y' chain, which is one of the three chains of fibrinogen, has two different variants, the yA and y’. The presence of the fibrinogen y’ chain has been associated with thrombotic disorders. Many studies have investigated the fibrinogen variables in Caucasian individuals, but only a few such studies have been conducted on non-Caucasian individuals. The genetic diversity of ethnic groups differs and could cause differences in the fibrinogen variables between these groups. Fibrinogen is known to increase with age; therefore to explain changes over time in fibrinogen concentrations it was also important to investigate whether genetic determinants and possible gene–environment interactions influenced fibrinogen over time. In this study the main aim was to determine the change in the fibrinogen variables over a five-year period within a black South African cohort subdivided according to genotypes associated with fibrinogen variables, and to determine whether the observed changes were modulated by environmental factors. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS - Data [baseline (n=2010) and follow-up (n=1288)] were collected in the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study during 2005 and 2010 from apparently healthy black men and women aged between 35 and 65 years and residing in rural or urban settlements. Experimental methods included analysis of fibrinogen and fibrinogen y’ concentrations, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and determination of environmental factors associated with the fibrinogen variables. RESULTS - The fibrinogen variables increased significantly from 2005 to 2010 in both the rural and urban participants, as well as in both men and women. The major environmental factors that affected the fibrinogen variables were C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), body mass index (BMI), glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), age, blood lipids, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tobacco use. Fibrinogen increased consistently from 2005 to 2010 in the respective genotypes of all SNPs analysed, except in the FGG 9340 T>C homozygous mutant carriers. Fibrinogen y’ also increased in general in most genotypes from 2005 to 2010, except in the FGG 10034 C>T mutant allele carriers, where a decrease was observed. It was determined that CRP was the only environmental factor that influenced the change in fibrinogen over time and that FGG 10034 C>T was the only SNP that influenced the change in fibrinogen y’ over the five years. Four gene–environment interactions also influenced fibrinogen on a cross-sectional level, i.e. FGA 2224 G>A with age, FGB Arg448Lys with HIV status, FGB 1643 C>T with urbanisation and FGB 1038 G>A with HbA1c. Only the FGG 9340 T>C with HbA1c interaction was found to predict change in fibrinogen concentrations over the five years. CONCLUSION - Both environmental and genetic factors significantly influenced the fibrinogen variables cross-sectionally as well as prospectively. It was clear that the influence of the environmental factors was mediated by genetic polymorphisms and vice versa, as can be seen by the gene–environment interactions found in this study. An important finding of this study was that the interaction of HbA1c with two SNPs on fibrinogen variables may explain the known inconsistent relationship found between fibrinogen concentrations and diabetes.
- Health Sciences 
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