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Genetic background of atherosclerosis and its risk factors 

Genetic background of atherosclerosis and its risk factors
Genetic background of atherosclerosis and its risk factors

Lesca M. Holdt

and Daniel Teupser


February 23, 2017: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 20 October 2018

This chapter is concerned with how atherosclerosis risk is modulated by a complex interplay between genetic and environmental risk factors. The contribution of genetics to the variability of atherosclerosis risk is estimated as 50%. Recent genome-wide association studies have led to the identification of over 50 gene variants which modulate atherogenesis. Risk factors for atherosclerosis are also partly genetically determined and some of the variants which play a role in atherogenesis overlap with those modulating its risk factors. However, the current relevance of these findings for clinical practice is limited, mainly due to the small effect sizes of identified risk variants with insufficient discriminatory power, and a large portion of the genetic contribution to atherosclerosis is still unknown. The major promise therefore lies in understanding the pathophysiology of newly identified genes with the perspective of novel therapeutic approaches.

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