Background and Objectives : Recent studies indicate that in response to vasoconstrictor stimuli, the small GTPase RhoA and its down-stream effector, Rho-associated kinase 2 (ROCK)/Rho-kinase, are associated with hypercontraction of the vascular smooth muscle of coronary arteries through augmentation of myosin light chain phosphorylation and Ca2+ sensitization. Expression of ROCK/Rho-kinase mRNA was significantly increased and up-regulated in the spastic coronary artery in a porcine model, and a specific inhibitor of ROCK/Rho-kinase inhibited coronary artery spasm in humans. We therefore explored the role of ROCK2 polymorphisms in the pathogenesis of vasospastic angina (VA).
Subjects and Methods : We studied 106 patients with VA who exhibited spontaneous or provoked coronary spasm during coronary angiography and compared the prevalence of ROCK2 polymorphisms between this group of patients with VA and controls whose angiograms were normal, and in whom the ergonovine test did not cause spasm (n=107). Five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the ROCK2 gene were selected. SNPs were genotyped by high-resolution melting. Linkage disequilibrium and haplotype analyses were performed using the SHEsis program.
Results: The prevalence of genotypes of the 5 interesting SNPs in patients with VA was not different from that in the control group. In haplotype analysis, the haplotype G-T-C-T-G (in order of rs978906, rs2271621, rs2230774, rs1515210, and rs3771106) was significantly associated with a decreased risk of VA (p=0.007).
Conclusion: The haplotype G-T-C-T-G in the ROCK2 gene had a protective effect against VA, suggesting the involvement of ROCK2 in VA pathogenesis.
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