Document Type



Polymorphisms at the apolipoprotein B {APOB Xbal, EcoRl, insertion-deletion), apolipoprotein E (APOE), and angiotensinconverting enzyme (ACE) loci are thought to be involved in susceptibility to coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction. The aim of this study was to determine whether the allele distribution of the APOB, APOE, and ACE polymorphisms is different in 2 Italian regions with higher (northern Italy) and lower (Sardinia) CAD occurrence. The frequencies of the APOB and APOE alleles that are considered CAD risk factors were higher in northern Italy (APOB X — = 0.655; APOB R — 0.198; APOB insertion = 0.757]APOE*4 = 0.110) than in Sardinia {APOB X — = 0.568\ A POB R - = 0.159; APOB insertion = 0.680; APOE*4 = 0.052), although only APOE allele frequencies differed significantly (p = 0.001). ACE deletion allele frequencies in the 2 geographic areas showed an opposite pattern (northern Italy = 0.658; Sardinia = 0.721). Furthermore, we investigated the impact of APOB and APOE polymorphisms on interindividual variation in total cholesterol level in the 2 Italian samples, which differ in dietary habits. Only APOE phenotypes showed different mean levels of total cholesterol; the association was significant only in northern Italy (p = 0.04), where continental dietary habits and higher mean cholesterol levels prevail. These results support the suggestion that the cholesterol increasing effect of APOE*4 is environmentally mediated. Analysis of allele distributions among European populations, with remarkable differences in CAD prevalence, revealed a constant positive relationship between APOE*4 allele frequency and CAD incidence. The highest frequencies of APOB X — and R — were observed in Finland, where the incidence of CAD is high, and there is a partial agreement between APOB R — frequency and CAD occurrence across Europe, while APOB insertion and ACE deletion alleles are evenly distributed among European populations.