AIM: Recently, a novel susceptibility locus for coronary artery disease (CAD) has been identified on chromosome 9p21.3, linked to the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1333049 G>C. However, the physiological mechanism through which this locus confers an increased CAD-risk is still unknown. The aim of the present case-control study was to test whether this chromosome 9p21.3 locus, represented by the rs1333049 variant, is associated with altered vasodilator resistance vessel function in healthy young volunteers.
DESIGN AND RESULTS: A total of 97 healthy male volunteers were screened for homozygous carriers of either the G- or the C-allele, the minor allele in European populations. Forearm blood flow (FBF) reactivity to acetylcholine (ACh) and glycerol trinitrate (GTN) was then studied in 10 C/C-genotype carriers compared with 10 control subjects harbouring the G/G-genotype. FBF responses to ACh and GTN were reduced in subjects homozygous for the C-allele of the rs1333049 SNP (P < 0.05). FBF reactivity to the highest dose of ACh and GTN was 95% and 74% lower when compared with control subjects with the G/G-genotype.
CONCLUSION: Our study revealed a functional impairment in forearm artery vasodilator resistance in carriers of the rs1333049 C/C-genotype, thus providing evidence for a first physiological functional link underlying the genetic association of the 9p21.3 locus with an increased cardiovascular risk.