Role of NOD2/CARD15 in coronary heart disease.

Nour Eddine El Mokhtari, Stephan J Ott, Almut Nebel, Arne Schäfer, Philip Rosenstiel, Matti Förster, Michael Nothnagel, Rüdiger Simon, Stefan Schreiber
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BMC genetics
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Bacterial DNA has been repeatedly detected in atheromatous lesions of coronary heart disease (CHD) patients. Phylogenetic signatures in the atheroma lesions that are similar to those of bacterial biofilms on human barrier organs, including the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract, raise the question of a defective barrier function in CHD. NOD2 plays a major role in defense against bacterial invasion. Genetic variation in the CARD15 gene, which encodes NOD2, was previously shown to result in a barrier defect that causes chronic inflammatory disorders (e.g. Crohn disease). In the present study, we investigated the possible involvement of NOD2/CARD15 in the pathology of CHD by i) analyzing the local expression of NOD2 in atherectomy versus healthy tissue (n = 5 each) using histochemical immunofluorescence and ii) by testing the three major functional CARD15 variants (R702W, G908R and 1007fs) for association with early-onset CHD in 900 German patients and 632 healthy controls.In atherectomy tissue of CHD patients, NOD2 was detected in inflammatory cells at the luminal sides of the lesions. However, the allele and genotype frequencies of the three major CARD15 polymorphisms did not differ between CHD patients and controls.The NOD2 up-regulation in atheroma lesions indicates an involvement of this protein in the pathology of CHD. Although NOD2 could be important in local immune response mechanisms, none of the analyzed CARD15 variants seem to play a significant role in the etiology of CHD.