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Researchers in Japan have uncovered the genetic underpinning of coronary artery spasm, a condition responsible for chest pain and, in severe cases, myocardial infarction.
In a study of 201 patients with coronary artery spasm and 345 healthy controls, researchers from Kumamoto University discovered that a mutation in the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) gene was the most predictive risk factor, followed by cigarette smoking, for coronary artery spasm. The eNOS gene controls nitric oxide production in the epithelium of blood vessel walls. Nitric oxide is a key chemical in regulating blood vessel dilation.
Voelker R. Genetics and Coronary Spasm. JAMA. 1999;282(22):2111. doi:10.1001/jama.282.22.2111-JWM90010-2-1