PhD Scientific Days 2018

Budapest, April 19–20, 2018

Genetic components of coronary plaque composition and plaque volume: a classical twin study

Drobni D., Zsófia

MTA SE Lendulet Cardiovascular Imaging Research Group, Heart and Vascular Center, Semmelweis University, Budapest

Language of the presentation


Text of the abstract

Introduction: The extent and composition of coronary atherosclerotic plaques are associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Positive family history as a long-recognized risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD), indicates that genetic factors contribute notably to the risk of CAD.

Aims: Our goal was to determine the heritability of coronary plaque components and plaque volume.

Methods: 60 twins (age: 55.7±10.1 years, 60% females) from the Genetic Loci and the Burden of Atherosclerotic Lesions (GLOBAL) Study were included (14 monozygotic (MZ) and 16 dizygotic (DZ) pairs). All twins underwent coronary CT angiography for the detection and quantification of coronary plaque. We measured total plaque volume, non-calcified and calcified plaque volume in the LM, LAD, LCx, OM1 and RCA. Concordance between MZ and DZ pairs were assessed using Pearson correlations. Broad heritability was calculated according to the Falconer-method [h2=2*( rMZ* rDZ)].

Results: The median total plaque volume was 611.4 (IQR: 540.2-709.2 mm3), the median non-calcified plaque volume was 537.4 mm3 (IQR: 380.5-605.6 mm2) and the median calcified plaque volume was 77.5 mm3 (IQR: 33.5-130.4 mm3). The total plaque volume showed strong correlation between MZ twins rMZ=0.78, while between DZ twins the correlation was weaker rMZ=0.46, similarly to that of the calcified plaque volumes (rMZ=0.67 and rDZ=0.32). However, non-calcified plaque volume showed stronger correlations between both MZ and DZ twins (rMZ=0.78 and rDZ=0.61). The broad heritability of total plaque volume and calcified plaque volume was moderate (h2=0.64 and h2=0.71, respectively), whereas the heritability of non-calcified plaque volume was weak (h2=0.35).

Conclusion: Our initial results show that coronary calcification and total plaque burden has a relatively strong heritability, while non-calcified plaque burden seems to be less determined by genetic factors. These finding suggest that lifestyle and other environmental factors have a stronger influence on the non-calcified plaque than on the calcified plaque quantity.

Data of the presenter

Basic and Translational Medicine,
01. Cardiovascular Disorders: Physiology and Medicine of Ischaemic Circulatory Diseases
Supervisor: Pal Maurovich-Horvat