The relevance of specific c–reactive protein genetic variants towards cardiovascular disease risk in a black South African population undergoing an epidemiological transition
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Introduction: In Africa, it is estimated that cardiovascular disease (CVD) will affect approximately 1.3 million people per annum over the following 20 years. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a predictor of CVD risk and certain CRP gene polymorphisms can result in altered CRP concentrations. The distribution of CRP gene polymorphisms is ethnic-specific and extrapolating information from other populations to the black South African population, reported to harbour considerable genetic variation, should be avoided. This highlights the fact that genetic research among black South Africans is necessary. Objectives: The main aim of this dissertation was to determine the association between various polymorphisms (reported and novel [single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)] within the CRP gene with CRP concentrations [measured as high sensitivity (hs)-CRP concentrations] in a black South African population undergoing an epidemiological transition. Interactions between specific CRP polymorphisms and certain environmental factors on hs-CRP concentrations were also investigated. Methods: This cross-sectional study (n=1,588) was nested within the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study. Genotyping was performed using Illumina VeraCode technology on the BeadXpress® platform. Hs-CRP concentrations were measured by the use of a sequential multiple analyser computer (SMAC) through a particle-enhanced immunoturbidometric assay. Results: All the SNPs adhered to the assumptions of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, although the distribution of several SNPs differed from that reported in other population groups. Three SNPs (rs3093058, rs3093062 and rs3093068) were associated with a significant (p ≤ 0.05) increase in CRP concentrations. Five SNPs (rs1205, rs1341665, rs2794520, rs7553007 and rs2027471) were associated with a significant (p ≤ 0.05) decrease in CRP concentrations. This difference in effect was most probably due to changes in gene function brought about by the localisation of these SNPs in the CRP gene. Men and urban individuals were more likely to present with significant associations between the SNPs investigated and CRP concentrations. The difference in the prevalence of the alleles associated with higher CRP concentrations in this population compared to non-African populations could possibly explain the increased CRP concentrations that are observed in the black South African population. Gene-gender (rs1205, rs1341665 and rs2027474) as well as gene-environmental (rs3093068) interactions were also observed. Conclusions: CRP concentrations are in themselves a complex trait and there are many factors at play that influence their expression. Numerous factors (both genetic and environmental) are involved and no single factor acting alone is likely to have enough of an influence to be used as a clinical diagnostic test of CRP concentrations. These results provide valuable information on the regulation of CRP in a black South African population as well as contribute to the literature of CRP on a global level.
- Health Sciences