One-third of Greenlanders have high genetic risks of high cholesterol, heart disease

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Scientists from the University of Copenhagen found that a genetic variant that is present in nearly 30% of Greenlanders is linked to high cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease.

The research is published in the journal Human Genetics and Genomics Advances and was conducted by Emil Jorsboe et al.

This is the first report of an association between this Arctic-specific variant, known as p.G137S, and heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the number-one cause of death in many populations worldwide. It is tightly linked to elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

The uptake of LDL-cholesterol particles from the blood into tissues such as the liver is mediated by the LDL receptor (LDLR).

Mutations in the LDLR gene, which encodes this receptor, are a common cause of high cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.

Among Greenlanders, the prevalence of heart disease is likely to increase in the future due to increasing life expectancy and changing lifestyles.

The common Arctic-specific LDLR variant, known as p.G137S, was recently shown to be associated with elevated cholesterol levels.

In the study, the team examined this possibility in a group of 5,063 Greenlanders. Roughly 30% of the individuals carried at least one copy of the p.G137S risk allele.

Approximately 25% of the heterozygous and 55% of the homozygous carriers had high blood levels of LDL cholesterol.

Moreover, p.G137S was linked to an increased risk of ischemic heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and coronary operations.

Yet only a low proportion of individuals with very high levels of LDL cholesterol were receiving cholesterol-lowering therapy.

In addition, elevated levels of LDL cholesterol for p.G137S carriers were independent of age, indicating that these people would benefit from early intervention and treatment.

These results showed that the p.G137S variant had an even larger impact on the lipid profile of Greenlanders than previously reported.

The results suggest that a screening program for the p.G137S variant could be highly useful for the early identification of people at increased risk for heart disease, potentially improving preventive care and public health.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about cheap drug combo that could reduce heart disease death by one-third, and a big cause of congenital heart disease.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about how COVID affects the heart, and results showing drinking coffee this way can help prevent stroke, heart disease.

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