Genetic risk scores for coronary artery disease and its traditional risk factors : Their role in the progression of coronary artery calcification - Results of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study

Pechlivanis, Sonali GND; Moebus, Susanne GND; Lehmann, Nils GND; Erbel, Raimund GND; Mahabadi, Amir A. GND; Hoffmann, Per GND; Jöckel, Karl-Heinz GND; Nöthen, Markus M. GND; Bachmann, Hagen S. GND

Background: Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of coronary artery disease (CAD). Several observational studies have examined the association of traditional CAD risk factors with the progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC). In our study we investigated the effect of 11 different genetic risk scores associated with CAD and CAD risk factors on the progression of CAC.

Methods and Results: We included 3097 participants from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study who had available CAC measurements at baseline (CACb) and at the 5-year follow-up (CAC5y). A weighted genetic risk score for CAD and each of the CAD-associated risk factors was constructed. Multiple regression analyses were applied to i) the difference between the observed log(CAC5y+1) (log(obs)) and expected log(CAC5y+1) (log(exp)) at the 5-year follow-up following the individual's log(CACb+1) percentile for the time between scans (log(obs)-log(exp)) and ii) the 5-year CAC progression, defined as 5*(log(CAC5y+1)-log(CACb+1))/time between the scans, adjusted for age, sex, and log(CACb+1) as well as for risk factors. The median percent deviation from the expected (CAC5y+1) and the 5-year progression of (CAC+1) in our study were 0 (first quartile: Q1; third quartile: Q3: -0.32; 0.48) and 45.4% (0%; 171.0%) respectively. In the age-, sex- and log(CACb+1)-adjusted model, the per-standard deviation (SD) increase in CAD genetic risk score was associated with the percent deviation from the expected (CAC5y+1) (9.7% (95% confidence interval: 5.2%; 14.5%), p = 1.6x10-5) and the 5-year progression of CAC (7.1% (3.0%; 11.4%), p = 0.0005). The CAD genetic risk score explains an additional 0.6% of the observed phenotypic variance for "log(obs)-log(exp)" and 0.4% for 5-year progression of CAC. Additionally, the per-SD increase in the CAC genetic risk score was associated with the percent deviation from the expected (CAC5y+1) (6.2% (1.9%; 10.8%, p = 0.005)) explaining an additional 0.2% of the observed phenotypic variance. However, the per-SD increase in the CAC genetic risk score was not associated with the 5-year progression of CAC (4.4% (0.4%; 8.5%), p = 0.03) after multiple testing. Adjusting for risk factors did not change the results. None of the other genetic risk scores showed an association with the percent deviation from the expected (CAC5y+1) or with the 5-year progression of CAC.

Conclusions: The association of the CAC genetic risk score and the CAD genetic risk score provides evidence that genetic determinants for CAC and CAD influence the progression of CAC.

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Pechlivanis, S., Moebus, S., Lehmann, N., Erbel, R., Mahabadi, A.A., Hoffmann, P., Jöckel, K.-H., Nöthen, M.M., Bachmann, H.S., 2020. Genetic risk scores for coronary artery disease and its traditional risk factors: Their role in the progression of coronary artery calcification - Results of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0232735
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