The HMG-CoA Reductase gene and lipid and lipoprotein levels: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

Yi-Chun Chen*, Yii Der I. Chen, Xiaohui Li, Wendy Post, David Herrington, Joseph F. Polak, Jerome I. Rotter, Kent D. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

20 Scopus citations


HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR) is an enzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis. To investigate the contribution of the HMGCR gene to lipids and lipoprotein subfractions in different ethnicities, we performed an association study in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). In total, 2,444 MESA subjects [597 African-Americans (AA), 627 Chinese-Americans (CHA), 612 European-Americans (EA), and 608 Hispanic-Americans (HA)] without statin use were included. Participants had measurements of blood pressure, anthropometry, and fasting blood samples. Subjects were genotyped for 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). After excluding SNPs with minor allele frequency <5%, a single block was constructed. The most frequent haplotype was H1 (41-56%) in all ethnic groups except AA (H2a, 44.9%). Lower triglyceride level was associated with the H2a haplotype in AA and H2 in HA. In HA, H4 carriers had higher levels of triglyceride and small low-density lipoprotein (s-LDL), and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), while carriers with H7 or H8 had associations with these traits in the opposite direction. No significant association was discovered in both CHA and EA. The total variation for triglyceride that could be explained by H2 alone was 2.6% in HA and 1.4% in AA. In conclusion, HMGCR gene variation is associated with multiple lipid/lipoprotein traits, especially with triglyceride, s-LDL, and HDL-c. The impact of the genetic variance is modest and differs greatly among ethnicities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-743
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - 08 2009


  • Association study
  • Cholesterol
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA reductases
  • Low-density lipoprotein size
  • Triglyceride


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