OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to study whether an insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism in the α2B-adrenoceptor gene is associated with the risk for cardiovascular diseases. BACKGROUND: α2-adrenoceptors mediate contraction of vascular smooth muscle and induce coronary vasoconstriction in humans. The α2-adrenoceptor subtype B mediates vasoconstriction in mice. A variant of the human α2B-adrenoceptor gene that encodes a D of three residues in an intracellular acidic motif has been shown to confer decreased receptor desensitization. This receptor variant could, therefore, be involved in diseases associated with enhanced vasoconstriction. METHODS: This study was part of a prospective population-based study investigating risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in a cohort of middle-aged men from eastern Finland. Nine hundred twelve men aged 46 to 64 years were followed for an average time of 4.5 years. RESULTS: In this study population, 192 men (21%) had the D/D genotype; 256 (28%) had the I/I genotype, and 464 (51%) had a heterozygous genotype. In a Cox model adjusting for other coronary risk factors, men with the D/D genotype had 2.2 times (95% confidence interval: 1.1 to 4.4, p = 0.02) the risk to experience an acute coronary event (n = 15 for D/D, 10 for I/I and 12 for I/D) compared with men carrying either of the other two genotypes. The α2B-adrenoceptor genotype was not associated with hypertension in this study population. CONCLUSIONS: The D/D genotype of the α2B-adrenoceptor is a novel genetic risk factor for acute coronary events, but not for hypertension.
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