The L162V polymorphism at the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha locus modulates the risk of cardiovascular events associated with insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus: The Veterans Affairs HDL Intervention Trial (VA-HIT)



      The Veterans Affairs HDL Intervention Trial (VA-HIT) showed that gemfibrozil, which activates peroxisome proliferator–activator receptor α (PPARα), significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events in men with low HDL cholesterol (<40 mg/dl) and established coronary heart disease. Treatment was particularly beneficial in those with insulin resistance (IR) or diabetes mellitus (DM). We hypothesized that the association between a functional polymorphism at the PPARA locus (L162V) and the risk of a CV event, as well as response to fibrate therapy, might be greatest in those with either IR or DM (DM/IR) in VA-HIT.

      Methods and results

      A total of 827 men (placebo, n = 413; gemfibrozil, n = 414) from the VA-HIT were genotyped. This population included a high proportion of subjects with DM/IR. In VA-HIT, the PPARA V162 allele was associated with reduced levels of HDL cholesterol and the presence of DM/IR at baseline. It was also associated with reduced risk of CV events in those with DM/IR but not in those with neither (DM/IR *PPARA genotype, P = 0.005). Among subjects with DM/IR, treatment with gemfibrozil reduced CV events in non-carriers from 29.9 to 17.8% and carriers of the V162 allele from 14.7 to 4.8%. In contrast, carriers of the V162 allele with no DM/IR who were treated with gemfibrozil experienced significantly more CV events than did those who received placebo (20.6% versus 13.6%; P = 0.01).


      The effect of the L162V polymorphism at the PPARA locus on CV risk depends on the presence of DM/IR. Among subjects treated with gemfibrozil, the V162 allele was associated not only with reduced CV risk in subjects with DM/IR, but also with significantly increased CV risk in the absence of these traits, identifying this genetic variant as a potential marker for predicting which subjects may have a favorable response to fibrate therapy.


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