Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 35 loci that significantly associate with coronary artery disease (CAD) susceptibility. The majority of the genes represented in these loci have not previously been studied in the context of atherosclerosis. To characterize the roles of these candidate genes in the vessel wall, we determined their expression levels in endothelial, smooth muscle, and macrophage cells isolated from healthy, prelesioned, and lesioned mouse aortas. We also performed expression quantitative locus (eQTL) mapping of these genes in human endothelial cells under control and proatherogenic conditions. Of the 57 genes studied, 31 were differentially expressed in one or more cell types in disease state in mice, and the expression levels of 8 were significantly associated with the CAD SNPs in human cells, 7 of which were also differentially expressed in mice. By integrating human and mouse results, we predict that PPAP2B, GALNT4, MAPKAPK5, TCTN1, SRR, SNF8, and ICAM1 play a causal role in the susceptibility to atherosclerosis through a role in the vasculature. Additionally, we highlight the genetic complexity of a subset of CAD loci through the differential expression of multiple candidate genes per locus and the involvement of genes that lie outside linkage disequilibrium blocks.
- Coronary artery disease
- Genome-wide association study
- Smooth muscle cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology