Association of thrombomodulin Ala455Val dimorphism and inflammatory cytokines with carotid atherosclerosis in the Chinese Han population
Gaochao Qian,1 Zhixiang Ding,1 Binxia Zhang,2 Qihua Li,2 Wentao Jin,1 Qi Zhang2
1Clinical Laboratory Department, 2Department of Cardiology, Changzhou TCM Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing TCM University, Changzhou, China
Background and methods: It has been reported that C/T dimorphism at position 1418 of the thrombomodulin gene causes a cytosine (C) transition to thymidine (T), resulting in an alanine (A) to valine (V) substitution at amino acid position 455 (TM455). TM455 had been found not only in African American and American whites, but also in whites in The Netherlands and Sweden. Among these populations, the C/C genotype is predominant, although the distribution of this dimorphism is different. Thrombomodulin is an important anticoagulant protein that is downregulated in endothelial cells overlying atherosclerotic plaques and is also an anti-inflammatory molecule. TM455 is located in the last epidermal growth factor-like repeat of thrombomodulin, which is functionally important for protein C activation and thrombin binding. The distribution of thrombomodulin polymorphism and association between TM455, inflammatory cytokines, and carotid atherosclerosis in the Chinese Han population is unclear.
Methods: This thrombomodulin dimorphism was analyzed by allele-specific amplification in 144 patients with carotid atherosclerosis and in 384 healthy controls. TM455 was found in the Chinese Han population, but the genotype frequency and distribution of each genotype in this population differed substantially from that in other ethnic subgroups. The C/T and T/T genotypes were predominant in the Chinese Han population, and the frequency of the T allele in this population (63.8%) was much higher than that in whites in The Netherlands (18%), Sweden (26.1%), and the US (18.4%), and in blacks in the US (7.6%). The frequencies of these single nucleotide polymorphisms complied well with the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in healthy individuals. The C allele was significantly more common among patients with carotid atherosclerosis than in controls (P < 0.05). The frequency of the C allele was 45.5% in patients and 36.2% in controls. The thrombomodulin Ala455 genotypes C/C and C/T were significantly more common than the T/T genotype in patients with carotid atherosclerosis in the Chinese Han population. In addition, higher baseline levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (55.45 ± 11.58 pg/mL versus 52.70 ± 10.74 pg/mL; P < 0.05), interleukin-6 (31.53 ± 10.51 pg/mL versus 27.73 ± 8.37 pg/mL; P < 0.01), and C-reactive protein (6.65 ± 2.01 mg/L versus 4.06 ± 1.03 mg/L; P < 0.01) were observed in patients with carotid atherosclerosis than in controls. Interestingly, compared with baseline inflammatory cytokine levels in those with the Val/Val genotype, higher baseline tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, and C-reactive protein levels were observed for the Ala/Ala genotype in both patients with carotid atherosclerosis and healthy controls.
Conclusion: Our results support a significant association between thrombomodulin Ala455Val dimorphism, inflammatory cytokines, and carotid atherosclerosis in the Chinese Han population.
Keywords: thrombomodulin, carotid atherosclerosis, dimorphism, inflammatory cytokines, association study
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