Single-gene disorders explain only a minority of stroke cases. Stroke represents a complex trait, which is usually assumed to be polygenic. On this topic, the role of a wide number of candidate genes has been investigated in stroke through association studies, with controversial results. Therefore, it is difficult for the clinician to establish the validity and the level of clinical applicability of the previously reported associations between genetic factors and stroke. This review is an update and an extensive analysis of the more recent association studies conducted in stroke. We evaluated a number of studies on several candidate genes (including F5, F2, FGA/FGB/FGG, F7, F13A1, vWF, F12, SERPINE1, ITGB3/PLA1/PLA2/ITGA2B, ITGA2, GP1BA, ACE, AGT, NOS3, APOE, LPL, PON1, PDE4D, ALOX5AP, MTHFR, MTR, and CBS), providing a final panel of genes and molecular variants. We categorized this panel in relation to the degree of association with stroke, supported by the results of meta-analyses and case-control studies. Our findings could represent a useful tool to address further molecular investigations and to realize more detailed meta-analyses.
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