Washington: University of Leicester scientists have discovered a potential genetic contributor to the increased risk of heart disease among men.
The team of researchers, from the University`s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Department of Health Sciences, have made an important step forward in search of the mechanisms underlying increased risk of coronary artery disease in men who carry a particular type of the Y chromosome (haplogroup I).
They have found that men with haplogroup I of the Y chromosome have a 50 per cent greater risk of developing the disease.
The research, which used a sample of around 2,000 men from four European populations, found that men in haplogroup I have lower numbers of copies of two important Y chromosome genes in macrophages - the type of white blood cells involved in both defence against infections and atherosclerosis.
Specifically, men with haplogroup I were shown to have decreased expression of 2 genes: the ubiquitously transcribed tetratricopeptide repeat, Y-linked gene (UTY) and protein kinase, Y-linked, pseudogene (PRKY) in macrophages.
The team found no association between haplogroup I and traditional cardiovascular risk factors - such as high blood pressure, smoking and obesity.
The study was published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.