In a given individual, the level of cardiovascular risk results from the combination of and interactions between genetic and environmental components. We choose to investigate segregation analysis of intermediate phenotypes in healthy nuclear families, belonging to the Stanislas cohort, a large familial cohort composed of 1006 families, which will be followed for 10 years. We developed a panel of 35 genetic markers including genes involved in lipid metabolism, regulation of blood pressure, thrombosis, platelet function, and endothelial cell adhesion. The allele frequencies of the studied polymorphisms were in agreement with those reported in other Caucasian populations. As an example of segregation analysis, we investigated carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) variability in a subset sample of the Stanislas cohort. We found that about 30% of CIMT variability was attributable to genetic factors. Associations between CIMT and polymorphisms in apo CIII, cholesteryl ester transfer protein, methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase, and fibrinogen genes were observed and explained about 20% of CIMT variability in men. Furthermore, as another example of association studies, we investigated the relations between E-selectin polymorphisms and blood pressure interindividual variability and longitudinal changes in unrelated adults of this familial population. The E-selectin Phe554 allele was found associated with lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
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