Link between ambient air pollution and acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack

September 12, 2017

An article published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis looks specifically at airborne particulate matter resulting mainly from the combustion of fuel, including coal and also from forest fires. Evidence shows that both short- and long-term exposure to these particulates is associated with death from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, and more specifically from myocardial infarction.

Additionally, this research, based on a previous study, reveals that those patients with damaged arteries are most at risk to suffer from lung inflammation and fatal blood clots.

Each year, 1.1 million people experience myocardial infarction, which results from the obstruction of a diseased coronary artery.


The researchers then collected and analyzed DNA samples from all the siblings. Using genome-wide linkage analysis, they located a region on chromosome 2 that appears to be involved in causing high blood pressure in people who do not respond to ACE inhibitors and beta blockers.

"In other words, the same variation in genetic markers on chromosome 2 was significantly more likely to be found in the non-responders than in people who did respond to ACE inhibitors and beta blockers," Padmanabhan said.

African Americans, not Caucasians, typically have salt-sensitive high blood pressure that does not respond to ACE inhibitors and beta blockers, he said. And coincidentally, a recent American study showed that high blood pressure in African Americans maps to this exact same chromosome region.

Taken together, "the studies show that there is a strong likelihood that this region on the short arm of chromosome 2 may contain the gene or genes responsible for a salt-sensitive form of hypertension that is unresponsive to ACE inhibitors and beta blockers," Padmanabhan said.

The next step, he said is to pinpoint the exact mutant gene or genes responsible for this drug response. "Knowing who will not respond to certain drugs will allow us to tailor treatment for maximum benefit and the least side effects," Padmanabhan said.

Co-authors are Chris Wallace, Ph.D.; Patricia B. Munroe Ph.D.; Morris Brown, F.R.C.P.; Nilesh Samani, F.R.C.P.; David Clayton, Ph.D.; Martin Farrall, Ph.D.; John Webster, F.R.C.P.; Mark Lathrop, Ph.D.; Mark Caulfield, F.R.C.P.; Anna F. Dominiczak, F.R.C.P.; and John M. Connell, F.R.C.P.


©2017 -