Background: In a previous study, men with a history of myocardial infarction were found to have an increased prevalence of homozygosity for the deletional allele (D) of the angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) gene. The D allele is associated with higher levels of ACE, which may predispose a person to ischemic heart disease. We investigated the association between the ACE genotype and the incidence of myocardial infarction, as well as other manifestations of ischemic heart disease, in a large, prospective cohort of U.S. male physicians.
Methods: In the Physicians' Health Study, ischemic heart disease as defined by angina, coronary revascularization, or myocardial infarction developed in 1250 men by 1992. They were matched with 2340 controls according to age and smoking history. Zygosity for the deletion-insertion (D-I) polymorphism of the ACE gene was determined by an assay based on the polymerase chain reaction. Data were analyzed for both matched pairs and unmatched samples, with adjustment for the effects of known or suspected risk factors by conditional and nonconditional logistic regression, respectively.
Results: The ACE genotype was not associated with the occurrence of either ischemic heart disease or myocardial infarction. The adjusted relative risk associated with the D allele was 1.07 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.96 to 1.19; P = 0.24) for ischemic heart disease and 1.05 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.89 to 1.25; P = 0.56) for myocardial infarction, if an additive mode of inheritance is assumed. Additional analyses assuming dominant and recessive effects of the D allele also failed to show any association, as did the examination of low-risk subgroups.
Conclusions: In a large, prospectively followed population of U.S. male physicians, the presence of the D allele of the ACE gene conferred no appreciable increase in the risk of ischemic heart disease or myocardial infarction.