Assessment of the Genetic Effects of Polymorphisms in the Osteoprotegerin Gene, TNFRSF11B, on Serum Osteoprotegerin Levels and Carotid Plaque Vulnerability
Background and Purpose—Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a secretory glycoprotein which belongs to the tumor necrosis factor receptor family. Various mechanisms have been suggested by which calcification might alter atherosclerotic plaque stability, but the significance of this intimal calcification is controversial. High concentrations of OPG have been associated with the presence of vascular and cardiovascular diseases. This study was designed to assess the association between gene polymorphisms of the OPG gene (TNFRSF11B), the serum OPG level, and plaque stability in patients with carotid atherosclerosis.
Methods—We studied 177 patients with internal carotid artery stenosis who underwent carotid endarterectomy and also 303 controls. Carotid endarterectomy samples removed from patients were assessed by immunohistochemistry. Concentrations of OPG were measured and gene polymorphisms were examined by polymerase chain reaction and restriction enzyme analysis and were compared, initially between patients with carotid atherosclerosis and controls, and subsequently between stable and unstable carotid plaques.
Results—We found that the GG genotype of the T245G polymorphism, the CC genotype of the T950C polymorphism, and the CC genotype of the G1181C polymorphism were significantly higher in patients with carotid plaque than in controls (21.5% versus 10.9% , P<0.01; 15.8% versus 7.6%, P<0.01; and 20.3% versus 10.9%, P<0.01, respectively) and that these polymorphisms were associated with high serum OPG levels (4.02 [3.07] versus 2.94 [1.81] pmol/L; P<0.01), which were significantly higher in patients with unstable atherosclerotic plaques (5.86 [4.02] versus 3.53 [1.87] pmol/L; P<0.01).
Conclusions—The TNFRSF11B gene polymorphisms studied are associated with high serum OPG levels and might be potential markers for plaque instability.
- Received March 3, 2011.
- Accepted June 10, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.