University Of MichiganHeart disease risk in an individual is seemingly predicted by analyzing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A new study triggered by the University of Michigan School of Public Health claims to have identified or confirmed 95 regions of the human genome where genetic variants are correlated with blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. From all the regions, around 59 variants are ascertained to be newly linked with cholesterol and triglyceride lipid levels.

Four lipid traits total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol known as bad cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol referred to as good cholesterol and triglycerides were examined by the investigators. It was ascertained that a combination of genetics and environment is very important to identify the levels of those lipid traits in our blood. In order to affirm the findings, experts compiled 46 studies together. These analyses accumulated data of more than 100,000 people.

Michael Boehnke, SPH professor of biostatistics and co-senior study author elucidated, “What’s interesting to me is that for these common variants in the genome, there seems to be a lot of similarity between different racial or ethnic groups in terms of their impact on lipid values and more generally on risk of disease. The similar findings across different ancestry groups and the discovery of common variants in and near known lipid genes argues strongly against recent suggestions that these associations are due to the effects of rare variants much further away in the genome.”

It was highlighted that two discovered regions consisted previously known drug targets. Also several loci were found in these regions which may have never been related to lipid metabolism. Most of the common variants found were claimed to be in or near genes believed to have mutations. Such mutations are supposedly linked to more extreme shifts, in cholesterol or triglycerides levels.

Tanya Teslovich, a postdoctoral investigator at the U-M School of Public Health and first author on the study enlightened, “The majority of the variants that we identified associated with LDL-cholesterol are also associated with cardiovascular disease. So these are now variants that are interesting in the context of LDL. We all want our LDLs to be in a healthy range, but these are now also potentially predictive for cardiovascular events and potentially (therapeutic) targets for cardiovascular disease.”

The study findings suggest most variants noticed in these European-origin populations to promote lipid traits may also be found in East Asian, South Asian, and African American populations. It was mentioned that most of the variants associated to LDL-cholesterol are also linked with heart diseases.

The study is published in the August 5 issue of the journal Nature.