Genetic Risk Information for Coronary Heart Disease Leads to Lower Bad Cholesterol

A group of researchers led by Mayo Clinic has discovered that disclosing genetic risk for coronary heart disease results in lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol.

In the myocardial infarction genes (MI-GENES) study, investigators tested the hypothesis that incorporating genetic risk information into coronary heart disease risk estimates would lead to lowering of LDL levels. Study protocol was published in BMC Medical Genomics in 2015.

Participants were randomized to receive a coronary heart disease risk estimate that included genetic risk information versus an estimate based on conventional risk factors: high blood pressure, diabetes, physical inactivity and a history of smoking.

Six months after risk disclosure, the LDL levels were nearly 10 milligrams per deciliter of blood lower in those participants randomized to receive genetic risk information. The lower LDL levels resulted from a greater proportion of individuals in this group being started on statin medication.

"This study demonstrates for the first time that disclosing genetic risk information for a common disease such as coronary heart disease can result in changes in a relevant health outcome — in this case, LDL levels," says Iftikhar J. Kullo, M.D., Mayo Clinic cardiologist. "The study also demonstrates the feasibility of placing genetic risk information into the electronic health record to empower patients and physicians to make decisions related to initiation of a statin medication. This is an important advance in the area of precision medicine for cardiovascular diseases."

For more information

Kullo IJ, et al. Design of a randomized controlled trial of disclosing genomic risk of coronary heart disease: the Myocardial Infarction Genes (MI-GENES) study. BMC Medical Genomics. 2015;8:51.

Mayo Clinic News Network. Genetic risk information for coronary heart disease leads to lower bad cholesterol.


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