Gene variations of ROCKs and risk of ischaemic stroke: the Women's Genome Health Study

Clin Sci (Lond). 2014 Jun;126(12):829-835. doi: 10.1042/CS20130652.


Recent animal and human studies have demonstrated the importance of the ROCK (RhoA/Rho-associated kinase) pathway in IsST (ischaemic stroke). Whether the genetic variation within ROCK-associated genes modulates the risk of IsST remains elusive. The association between 66 tSNPs [tagging SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms)] of three ROCK-associated genes [ROCK1, ROCK2 and ARHGEF10 (Rho guanine-nucleotide-exchange factor 10)] and the incidence of IsST was investigated in 23294 Caucasian female participants of the prospective WGHS (Women's Genome Health Study). All were free of known cancer and cardiovascular disease at baseline. During a 15-year follow-up period, 323 participants developed their first ever IsST. Multivariable Cox regression analysis was performed to investigate the relationship between genotypes and risk of IsST assuming an additive genetic model. Haplotype-block analysis was also performed. A total of ten tSNPs were associated with the risk of IsST (three in ARHGEF10 and seven in ROCK1; P<0.050). Further investigation using the haplotype-block analysis revealed a similar significant association of pre-specified haplotypes of ROCK1 with the risk of IsST (P=0.005). If corroborated in other large prospective studies, the findings of the present study suggest that genetic variation within the ROCK-associated pathway gene loci examined, and in particular ROCK1 gene variation, may influence the risk of IsST.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / genetics*
  • rho-Associated Kinases / genetics*


  • rho-Associated Kinases