People who are genetically more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease may benefit from boosting a biomarker found in fish oils, a new study suggests.
In an 1886 genetic study of Asian Indians published in PLOS ONE today (Wednesday, May 12), scientists identified the first evidence for the role of adiponectin, a biomarker linked to obesity, in the association between a genetic variation called omentine and cardiometabolic health.
The team, led by Professor Vimal Karani of the University of Reading, observed that the role of adiponectin was linked to markers of cardiovascular disease that were independent of common and central obesity among the Asian Indian population.
Professor Vimal Karani, Professor of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics at the University of Reading, said:
“This is an important insight into how non-obese people can develop heart disease, thanks to low levels of a biomarker in the body called adiponectin. It may also demonstrate why certain factors related to mode lifestyle such as eating oily fish and regular exercise are so important to avoid the risk of heart disease.
“We studied Asian Indian populations who have a particular genetic risk of developing heart disease and found that the majority of our participants were already in poor cardiometabolic health. However, the omentine genetic variation we studied is prevalent in various ethnic groups and warrants further work to see if omentine also plays a role in heart disease risk in other groups. “
The Asian Indian population that took part in the study was found to have a significant association between low adiponectin levels and cardiovascular disease, even after adjusting for factors normally associated with heart disease.
Study participants were selected and assessed based on a range of cardiovascular measures including BMI, fasting blood sugar and cholesterol, and over 80% of those who participated were assessed as unhealthy cardiometabolically.
Further analysis showed that those with genetic variation in omentine production also had less of the adiponectin biomarker in their bodies.
Professor Vimal Karani said:
“What we can clearly see from the observations is that there is a three-step process in which the difference in the omentine gene contributes to the low biomarker adiponectin, which in turn appears to be linked to de worse outcomes and at risk of heart disease.
“The omentine gene itself produces a protein in the body that has anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects, and variations in the omentine gene have previously been linked to cardiometabolic disease. The results suggest that people can develop cardiometabolic disease due to this specific genetic risk of omentine if they have low levels, the biomarker adiponectin. “
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