Researchers find genetic scores can identify risk of heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes – News

This genetic risk score can help healthcare providers identify heart disease risk earlier and take preventative action.

Vibhu Parcha, MD, first author of this study and a clinical researcher at the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic.
Photography: Lexi Coon
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and about 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of poor cardiovascular outcomes, resulting in an estimated $37.3 billion annually in care associated with heart disease.

A new study involving two researchers from the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham indicates that a genetic score can predict the likelihood of high blood pressure and its link to poor cardiovascular outcomes in people with diabetes. type 2.

The study, published today in the American Heart Association’s peer-reviewed journal Hypertension, may play a pivotal role in guiding treatment for people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or those with prediabetes. . In this study, researchers explored whether genetic variants linked to high blood pressure were linked to the risk of heart disease or stroke in people with type 2 diabetes.

“Identifying the genetic risk for high blood pressure in newly diagnosed diabetic patients may aid in more targeted efforts to prevent the development of heart-related events in the future,” said Pankaj Arora, MD, associate professor at UAB Marnix E. Heersink. Division of Cardiovascular Diseases of the School of Medicine and Director of the UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic. “In the current era of precision medicine, we want to find an individualized approach to understanding heart disease risk in someone newly diagnosed with diabetes. This allows us to focus our clinical efforts on preventing the occurrence of fatal cardiac events through a personalized approach based on their genetic risk.

The researchers analyzed the health records of 6,335 participants from the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes trial database. Thirty percent of participants were from racial minorities and 37% of participants were women. Each candidate had type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

They looked at several health factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar – all commonly used to determine a person’s risk of heart disease – and looked at their age, gender, body mass index, medical history and genetic history, among other factors. Using their analysis, the researchers established a genetic ‘risk score’, which estimates a person’s risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years.

To develop this risk score, the researchers used a genetic variant map of more than 1,000 common genetic variants known to affect blood pressure and compared it to the DNA of study participants to determine their genetic risk. . More matches between a participant’s DNA and these genetic variants would mean a higher genetic risk score.

RS30304 20180807dmedmabry0199144 1Pankaj Arora, MD, associate professor in the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and director of the UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic. Photography: Andrea Mabry“Commonly occurring changes in our DNA form the composite genetic risk score for an individual,” said Vibhu Parcha, MD, first author of this study and a clinical researcher in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic. “Since we are born with these common DNA changes, we carry the risk of heart disease they confer throughout our lives. We were curious if a high genetic risk score for blood pressure would help us identify people with diabetes who are at higher risk of fatal cardiac events.

The researchers found that the genetic risk score identified study participants at higher risk for cardiovascular events. This genetic score can help identify disease risks earlier and allow doctors to take preventive measures in people with type 2 diabetes.

“This study represents a step toward personalized medicine for heart disease that stems from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure,” said David Goff, MD, Ph.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Other authors involved in the study are Akhil Pampana, MS; Adam Bress, Pharm.D., MS; Marguerite R. Irvin, Ph.D.; and Garima Arora, MD

“We look forward to future studies to confirm and exploit these results,” said Goff, who is not a member of the current study team. “Studies like this in diverse populations could also help inform efforts to reduce health disparities associated with heart disease. Future studies could also test whether interventions guided by this type of knowledge are more effective than current strategies.

The UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic uses a patient’s genetic history to help develop a personalized cardiovascular treatment plan based on their genetic results. The clinic offers a wide range of cardiology health care services for people of all ages and those with all types of heart disease in the southeastern United States. Make an appointment today by visiting or by calling 205-975-2313.

The research reported in this release was supported in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, under grant numbers R01HL160982 and K23HL146887. The study includes data from the multi-ethnic ACCORD trial, which was sponsored by the NHLBI. The content is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.