Genetic loci associated with ideal cardiovascular health: A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies

Norrina B. Allen*, Donald Lloyd-Jones, Shih Jen Hwang, Laura Rasmussen-Torvik, Myriam Fornage, Alanna C. Morrison, Abigail S. Baldridge, Eric Boerwinkle, Daniel Levy, L. Adrienne Cupples, Caroline S. Fox, George Thanassoulis, Line Dufresne, Martha Daviglus, Andrew D. Johnson, Jared Reis, Jerome Rotter, Walter Palmas, Mathew Allison, James S. PankowChristopher J. O'Donnell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background Multiple genetic loci are associated with clinical cardiovascular (CV) disease and individual CV risk factors. Individuals with ideal levels of all major CV risk factors have very low risk for CV disease morbidity or mortality. Ideal levels of risk factors can be attained by lifestyle modifications; however, little is known about gene variants associated with ideal CV health. Our objective was to carry out a genome-wide association study on the trait. Methods and Results We examined 2 dichotomous phenotypes of ideal CV health - clinical (untreated cholesterol <200 mg/dL, untreated blood pressure <120/<80, not diabetic) and clinical + behavioral (clinical plus: not a current smoker, body mass index <25 kg/m2) - among white participants aged 50 ± 5 years. We performed a meta-analysis of 4 genome-wide association studies (total n = 11,708) from the MESA, CARDIA, ARIC, and Framingham Heart Study cohorts. We identified a single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs445925) in the APOC1/APOE region that was associated with clinical ideal CV health at genome-wide level of significance (P < 2.0 × 10-9). The significance of this region was validated using exome chip genotyping. The association with ideal CV health was attenuated after adjusting for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Conclusion A common single-nucleotide polymorphism in the APOC1/APOE region, previously found to be associated with protective levels of cholesterol and lower CV risk, may be associated with ideal health. In future replication studies, larger sample sizes may be needed to detect loci with more modest effects on ideal CV health. In addition to the important impact of lifestyle modifications, we have identified evidence for gene variation that plays a role in ideal CV health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-120
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican heart journal
StatePublished - May 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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