Ischaemic heart disease is a complex phenotype arising from the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Excessive production of reactive oxygen species leading to endothelial dysfunction is believed to be important in the pathogenesis of ischaemic heart disease. The NAD(P)H oxidase system generates superoxide anions in vascular cells; however, the role of the C242T polymorphism of the NAD(P)H oxidase p22 phox gene in ischaemic heart disease is unclear due to contradictory results from case-control studies. Consequently, we applied family-based association tests to investigate the role of this polymorphism in ischaemic heart disease in a well-defined Irish population. A total of 1023 individuals from 388 families (discordant sibships and parent/child trios) were recruited. Linkage disequilibrium between the polymorphism and ischaemic heart disease was tested using the combined transmission disequilibrium test (TDT)/sib-TDT (cTDT) and pedigree disequilibrium test (PDT). Both cTDT and PDT analyses found no statistically significant excess transmission of either allele to affected individuals (P=0.30 and P=0.28, respectively). Using robust family-based association tests specifically designed for the study of complex diseases, we found no evidence that the C242T polymorphism of the p22 phox gene has a significant role in the development of ischaemic heart disease in our population.

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