Genetic variants associated with susceptibility to stroke are reported in a study this week in Nature Genetics.Stroke represents an increasing global public health concern, as a major cause of adult chronic disability and mortality. Approximately 80% of stroke cases worldwide are ischemic - due to a restriction of blood supply - and amongst these, the three most common subtypes are large vessel, cardioembolic and small vessel stroke.Hugh Markus and colleagues report a genome-wide association study for susceptibility to ischemic stroke in 3,548 affected individuals and 5,972 controls of European ancestry. They classified affected individuals by stroke subtype using clinical assessment, brain and vascular imaging. They identify a genomic region newly associated with large vessel stroke, including associated variants within the HDAC9 gene, encoding a histone deacetylase protein. The team also replicate three previously reported associated loci. They find that all four of these associations show heterogeneity across stroke subtypes, suggesting that there is a different mechanism predisposing to these subtypes.
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