Exploring Genetic Factors in Ischemic Stroke

Smoking or being the first-degree relative of someone who's had a stroke is reported to independently almost double the risk of ischemic stroke. These findings support our hypothesis that stroke is a result of an intricate interplay between the genes and environment.

Our lab's study, Exploring Genetic Factors in Ischemic Stroke, is investigating the relationship between environmental and genetic factors that is proposed to increase susceptibility to ischemic stroke.

Our lab has collected DNA samples from nearly 2,000 people who have had an ischemic stroke and were part of a vitamin intervention for stroke prevention study, along with 2,000 ethnically matched control participants without stroke. Our study marks the first time a study of this magnitude has been undertaken.

We have detailed phenotypic information about our stroke patients. These samples are being examined for genetic determinants, taking into account the confounding factors of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, age and gender.

Genetic associations with ischemic stroke remain contentious. With our large sample collection, though, we're confident that we can assess the influence of these genetic variants on risk in the U.S. population. Establishing the joint effects of smoking and genetics will help identify subsets of at-risk individuals and help with preventive diagnosis and treatment. This information will also be the driving force behind the generation of both in vitro and in vivo model systems that will allow safety and efficacy profiling in the development of targeted therapeutics.