The pro-inflammatory cytokine LTA (lymphotoxin-α) has multiple functions in regulating the immune system and may contribute to inflammatory processes leading to CHD (coronary heart disease). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the common C804A (resulting in a Thr26→Asp amino acid substitution) and A252G polymorphisms of the LTA gene and the C3279T polymorphism of the galectin-2 (LGALS2) gene, which affects LTA secretion, are associated with inflammatory parameters and cell adhesion molecules, and whether these polymorphisms are related to CHD in American women and men. We conducted a prospective nested case-control study within the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Among participants free of cardiovascular disease at baseline, 249 women and 266 men developed CHD during 8 and 6 years of follow-up respectively, and we matched controls 2:1 based on age and smoking. The LGALS2 gene variant was significantly associated with a decreased risk of CHD in women [odds ratio (95% confidence interval), 0.70 (0.50–0.97); P=0.03]. In addition, the LGALS2 polymorphism was directly associated with CRP (C-reactive protein) levels in cases from both studies (P<0.05). The LTA gene polymorphisms were directly associated with levels of sTNFRs (soluble tumour necrosis factor receptors) and VCAM-1 (vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) in both women and men with CHD (P<0.05). However, no overall effect was demonstrated between LTA gene polymorphisms and risk of CHD.

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