Asian Indians who have settled overseas and those in urban India have increased risk of coronary events. Reasons for this increased risk are thought to be genetic but are yet unclear. Advances in molecular cardiology have revealed a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with atherosclerosis. In this review, gene polymorphisms that have been associated with coronary diseases among Indians are discussed. Topics include the genes involved in hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and homocysteine. Mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene resulting in familial hypercholesterolemia have strong association with premature atherosclerosis. Common polymorphism of the apolipoproteins (apo) B-100 and E genes have been associated with variation in lipid and lipoprotein levels. Recently identified polymorphisms in the apoC3 (T-455C, C-482T), and cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) (B1/B2 allele) genes are associated with increased triglycerides and reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-levels, a feature now also common among Asian Indians. Angiotensin-converting enzyme-deletion (DD) polymorphism has been shown to influence beta-blocker therapy in heart failure. Mutations in methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (C667T), cystathionine β-synthase (T833C), and methionine synthase (A2756G) genes cause hyperhomocysteinemia, an independent risk factor for atherothrombosis. As the genetics of atherosclerosis continues to evolve, these factors along with the newer emerging factors may become a part of the routine assessment, aiding prediction of future coronary events.
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