Study reported in NEJM analyzed almost 20,000 genomes.

Researchers linked two markers to increased risk of developing either ischemic or nonischemic stroke in black people and ischemic stroke in white individuals. They point out, however, that the risk of stroke associated with these SNPs is not sufficiently high but that rather the findings enhance the understanding of stroke.

The results are detailed in the April 15 online edition of The New England Journal of Medicine in a paper titled “Genomewide Association Studies of Stroke.” The study revealed two variants on chromosome 12 near a gene associated with brain injury repair called NINJ2 as well as a gene connected to blood pressure control called WNK1. They also found that this genetic variant was present in about 20% of white people and 10% of black people studied by them.

In the study, scientists compared the genomes of 1,544 individuals who developed stroke (1,164 ischemic strokes) over an average follow-up of 11 years with the genomes of 18,058 individuals who did not develop stroke. The investigation included genomes of black and white individuals from U.S. and Europe.

They then tested the markers most strongly associated with stroke in a replication cohort of 2,430 black people with 215 incident strokes (191 ischemic strokes), another cohort of 574 black people with 85 incident strokes (68 ischemic strokes), as well as 652 Dutch people with ischemic stroke and 3,613 unaffected persons.

The association of one of the genetic variants was replicated in North American black people and Dutch white people. The association held when the analyses were adjusted for systolic blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and current smoking.

Past Findings in Stroke Research
Researchers Identify Two Biomarkers for Ischemic Stroke (Dec. 19, 2008)
New Technique Able to Transport Potential Alzheimer’s and Stroke Treatment Past the Blood-Brain Barrier (Nov. 12, 2008)
Human Stem Cells Injected into Mice Decreased Stroke Damage (Sep. 16, 2008)
Investigators Find a Way to Improve Brain Function in Rats following a Stroke (June 6, 2008)
Protein Involved in Brain-Cell Death After Stroke or Seizure Identified (Mar. 27, 2008)

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