Variants at the APOA5 locus, association with carotid atherosclerosis, and modification by obesity: the Framingham Study.
Genetic variation at the apolipoprotein A5 gene (APOA5) is associated with increased triglyceride concentrations, a risk factor for atherosclerosis. Carotid intimal medial thickness (IMT) is a surrogate measure of atherosclerosis burden. We sought to determine the association of common APOA5 genetic variants with carotid IMT and stenosis. A total of 2,273 Framingham Offspring Study participants underwent carotid ultrasound and had data on at least one of the five APOA5 variants (-1131T>C, -3A>G, 56C>G, IVS3+476G >A, and 1259T>C). Although none of the individual variants was significantly associated with carotid measures, the haplotype defined by the presence of the rare allele of the 56C>G variant was associated with a higher common carotid artery (CCA) IMT compared with the wild-type haplotype (0.75 vs. 0.73 mm; P < 0.05). The rare allele of each of the -1131T >C, -3A>G, IVS3+476G>A, and 1259T>C variants and the haplotype defined by the presence of the rare alleles in these four variants were each significantly associated with CCA IMT in obese participants. These associations remained significant even after adjustment for triglycerides. APOA5 variants were associated with CCA IMT, particularly in obese participants. The mechanism of these associations and the effect modification by obesity are independent of fasting triglyceride levels.