Common genetic variation at the endothelial nitric oxide synthase locus and relations to brachial artery vasodilator function in the community

Sekar Kathiresan, Martin G. Larson, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Chao Yu Guo, Joseph A. Vita, Gary F. Mitchell, Michelle J. Keyes, Christopher Newton-Cheh, Stacy L. Musone, Amy L. Lochner, Jared A. Drake, Daniel Levy, Christopher J. O'Donnell, Joel N. Hirschhorn, Emelia J. Benjamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background - Sequence variants at the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3) locus have been associated with endothelial function measures, but replication has been limited. Methods and Results - In reference pedigrees, we characterized linkage disequilibrium structure at the NOS3 locus using 33 common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Eighteen SNPs that capture underlying common variation were genotyped in unrelated Framingham Heart Study participants (49.5% women; mean age, 62 years) with measured brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (n=1446) or hyperemic flow velocity (n=1043). Within 3 defined blocks of strong linkage disequilibrium that spanned NOS3, 11 SNPs captured >80% of common haplotypic variation. Among men, there were nominally significant associations between 8 NOS3 SNPs (minimum P=0.002) and between haplotypes (minimum P=0.002) and either flow-mediated dilation or hyperemic flow velocity. In women, we did not observe significant associations between NOS3 SNPs or haplotypes and endothelial function measures. To correct for multiple testing, we constructed 1000 bootstrapped null data sets and found that empirical probability values exceeded 0.05 for both phenotypes. Conclusions - A parsimonious set of SNPs captures common genetic variation at the NOS3 locus. A conservative interpretation of our results is that, accounting for multiple testing, we did not observe statistically significant relations between NOS3 sequence variants and endothelial function measures in either sex. The nominal associations of select NOS3 variants with endothelial function in men (unadjusted for multiple testing) should be viewed as hypothesis-generating observations and may merit testing in other cohorts and experimental designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1419-1427
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 6 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Endothelium
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Nitric oxide synthase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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