Skip to main content

Genes, nutrients interact to shape traits

Dec. 12, 2012, 8:00 AM

(iStock)

Genetic and environmental factors both impact an individual’s lipid traits – such as levels of cholesterol and triglycerides – and are likely to interact in shaping those traits, but few studies have investigated such interactions.

Dana Crawford, Ph.D., associate professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, post-doctoral fellow Logan Dumitrescu, Ph.D, and colleagues have now explored the interaction between 23 different lipid-associated gene variants and serum levels of vitamin A and E (antioxidants that may play a role in lipid metabolism). They analyzed samples from more than 5,500 participants in the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a diverse population-based survey that includes clinical, dietary and lifestyle data.

The researchers identified three gene-vitamin A interactions and six gene-vitamin E interactions. They report in the November issue of Human Genetics that these interactions account for less than 2 percent of the variability in lipid levels in the general population. Despite this small effect size, the investigators suggest that understanding the mechanisms of gene-environment interactions is important for determining the causes of poor lipid profiles and could have implications for clinical care.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute (HG004798) of the National Institutes of Health.

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

Keeping pace: Nashville, once a mid-size city with a Southern small-town feel, is experiencing explosive growth.

Vanderbilt Medicine

Keeping pace: Nashville, once a mid-size city with a Southern small-town feel, is experiencing explosive growth.

VUMC campus

VUMC campus

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine entrance

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine entrance

Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital with helipad

Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital with helipad

more