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Pro-inflammatory genetic profile and familiarity of acute myocardial infarction

Manuela Ianni1, Sergio Callegari2, Antonio Rizzo3, Paolo Pastori2, Paolo Moruzzi2, Domenico Corradi4, Elisa Porcellini1, Gianluca Campo5, Roberto Ferrari5, Marco M Ferrario6, Stefania Bitonte1, Ilaria Carbone1 and Federico Licastro1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Experimental Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Bologna, Via S. Giacomo 14, 40126, Bologna, Italy

2 Fidenza Hospital, Division of Cardiology, AUSL, Parma, Italy

3 School of Cardiology, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

4 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Section of Pathology, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

5 Department of Cardiology, University of Ferrara, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, IRCCS, Lumezzane and Department of Morphology and Embryology and LTTA Centre, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

6 Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy

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Immunity & Ageing 2012, 9:14  doi:10.1186/1742-4933-9-14

Published: 24 June 2012



Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is a multifactorial disease with a complex pathogenesis where lifestyle, individual genetic background and environmental risk factors are involved. Altered inflammatory responses are implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and a premature AMI of parents is associated with an increased risk of the disease in their offspring (Offs). However, the genetic background of familiarity for AMI is still largely unknown. To understand which genes may predispose to increased risk of cardiovascular disease gene polymorphism of immune regulatory genes, and clinical events from the Offs of parents with an early AMI were investigated. Genetics data from Offs were compared with those obtained from healthy subjects and an independent cohort of patients with clinical sporadic AMI. Rates of clinical events during a 24 years follow up from Offs and from an independent Italian population survey were also evaluated.


This study showed that a genetic signature consisting of the concomitant presence of the CC genotype of VEGF, the A allele of IL-10 and the A allele of IFN-γ was indeed present in the Offs population. In fact, the above genetic markers were more frequent in unaffected Offs (46.4%) and patients with sporadic AMI (31.8%) than in the CTR (17.3%) and the differences were highly statistically significant (Offs vs CTR: p = 0.0001, OR = 4.129; AMI vs CTR: p = 0.0001, OR = 2.224). During the 24-year follow-up, Offs with a positive familiarity in spite of a relatively young age showed an increased prevalence of diabetes, ischemic heart disease and stroke. These findings reinforce the notion that subjects with a familial history of AMI are at risk of an accelerated aging of cardiovascular system resulting in cardiovascular events.


Our data suggest that selected genes with immune regulatory functions are part of the complex genetic background contributing to familiarity for cardiovascular diseases. This inflammatory genetic profile, along with classical cardiovascular risk factors, may be used for better defining individual risk of AMI in unaffected subjects.

Acute myocardial infarction; Family history; Genetic association; Inflammation