Scientists have found 21 new genes that determine blood cholesterol values. This is based on reports by the UMC Utrecht that led an international study.
An international team of researchers from the UMC Utrecht, AMC Amsterdam, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University College London, analyzed approximately 50,000 genetic variants in some 2100 genes with a role in heart disease.
They viewed these genes in more than 65,000 people and repeated the performance in an independent survey of 25,000 people. Moreover, the researchers compared the results with previous studies of another 100,000 people.
With this method, the investigators found 21 new genes that were identified to have an effect on the cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, the survey confirms the relationship between changes in 49 newly found genes with cholesterol levels.
Both genetic and environmental factors determine cholesterol levels in the blood. There is a clear relationship between cholesterol and heart disease. For instance, a too high LDL-cholesterol is a risk factor for the development of heart and vascular diseases. A high level of HDL cholesterol can help prevent heart and vascular diseases.
“We’re now looking at the relationship between the newly found genes and the occurrence of myocardial infarction, claudication and stroke,” said cardiologist Dr. Folkert Asselbergs of UMC Utrecht, one of the research leaders.
“In addition, these genes are a valuable target for the development of new cholesterol-lowering drugs.”
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