Exploring Genetic Factors in Ischemic Stroke
Smoking, or being the first degree relative of a stroke patient, are reported to independently almost double the risk of ischemic stroke. These findings support the hypothesis that stroke is a result of an intricate interplay between the genes and environment. This study will explore the relationship between environmental and the genetic factors which are proposed to increase susceptibility to ischemic stroke. We have DNA for 1786 individuals who have suffered ischemic stroke and were part of the vitamin intervention for stroke prevention (VISP) study, and 2000 ethnically–matched control individuals. We have detailed phenotypic information on our stroke patients. These samples will be examined for genetic determinants, taking into account the confounding factors; obesity, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, age and gender. Genetic associations with ischemic stroke remain contentious, however with our large sample collection we feel confident the influence of these genetic variants on risk in the US population can be assessed. Establishing the joint effects of smoking and genetics will identify subsets of at–risk individuals, and help with preventative diagnosis and treatment. This will be the first time a study of this magnitude has been undertaken and is necessary given the importance of identifying risk effects. The identification of biomarkers of preclinical ischemic stroke will alert those individuals who are at the highest risk. They will also be the driving force behind the generation of both in vitro and in vivo model systems which will allow safety and efficacy profiling in the development of targeted therapeutics.