Variation in the von Willebrand factor gene is associated with von Willebrand factor levels and with the risk for cardiovascular disease.
van Schie MC., de Maat MPM., Isaacs A., van Duijn CM., Deckers JW., Dippel DWJ., Leebeek FWG.
High levels of von Willebrand factor (VWF) are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although VWF levels are strongly heritable and genetic susceptibility is an important risk factor for CVD, information on the contribution of common VWF gene variants to VWF levels and CVD risk is limited. In a case-control study of 421 young patients with a first event of acute coronary heart disease (CHD) or ischemic stroke (IS), and 409 healthy control participants (men aged ≤ 45 years, women aged ≤ 55 years), 27 haplotype-tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (ht-SNPs), covering the total common VWF gene variation, were selected and genotyped. The associations between these SNPs, VWF antigen (VWF:Ag) levels, VWF collagen-binding (VWF:CB) activity, and CVD risk was investigated. Two new associations were identified. For ht-SNP rs4764478 (intron 45), the increase in VWF:Ag levels and VWF:CB activity per minor allele was 0.082 (± 0.026) IU/mL (P = .001) and 0.096 (± 0.030) IU/mL (P = .002), respectively. ht-SNP rs216293 (intron 17) was associated with CVD risk (odds ratio, 1.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12-1.86 per minor allele). We confirmed the association between rs1063857 and CVD risk. Our data show that common variants in the VWF gene are associated with VWF levels and with the risk for CVD.