Study Finds Catalase Gene Variant Influences Arterial Aging

Atherosclerosis refers to the progressive damage and dysfunction of the arterial system in humans wherein inflammatory cells and fatty deposits within the walls of arteries leads to narrowing or occlusion.

This very widespread disease the the leading cause of death and most common cause of death in old age.

Any understanding than can lead to effective prevention of atherosclerosis will positively influence healthy lifespan.

In the current study researchers report a new genetic factor that appears to contribute to atherosclerosis.

Like many diseases, and aging itself, part of the reason for atherosclerosis is free radical ROS-mediated damage within the walls of the blood vessels.  The enzyme catalyse inside cells is a powerful antioxidant, acting to break down hydrogen peroxide.

The researchers reasoned SNP variants of the catalase gene may therefore be linked to increased and decreased risk of atherosclerosis.

Analyzing about 500 patients, they indeed found that the CAT2 haplotype of the rs769214 SNP was associated with an increased risk of carotid intimal media thickness and the number of atherosclerotic plaques.

Thus knowing an individual’s catalase haplotype may help develop risk prevention strategies, and developing therapies which increase catalase function may have a beneficial effect on healthy lifespan.

Studies might be done to confirm the CAT1 haplotype is more common among centenarians.

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