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Jonatan Myrup Staalsø, Troels Edsen, Alexandros Kotinis, Bertil Romner, Jacob Bertram Springborg and Niels Vidiendal Olsen


The nitric oxide system has been linked to the pathogenesis of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The authors performed a case-control study to investigate the association between SAH and common genetic variants within the endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene (NOS3).


Three hundred thirty-three Caucasian SAH patients and 498 controls were genotyped for the –922A > G (rs 1800779), –786T > C (rs2070744), and 894G > T (rs1799983) single nucleotide polymorphisms and the intron-4 27-bp variable number of tandem repeats polymorphism (27-bp-VNTR).


The b/b (5 repeats) genotype of the 27-bp-VNTR was overrepresented in cases (77%) versus controls (69%) (p = 0.02). In male patients the b/b genotype was found in 85% compared with 67% in male controls, whereas in women, the frequencies were 73% and 72%, respectively. This corresponds to an odds ratio of 2.8 (95% CI 1.5–5.6, p = 0.0005) for SAH in men with the b/b genotype versus men with a/b or a/a. In women, no such association was found (OR 1.1, 95% CI 0.7–1.6, p = 0.76). Stepwise logistic regression including arterial hypertension, smoking, sex, and age with interactions yielded similar effect estimates of the 27-bp-VNTR. Haplotype analysis revealed that no single haplotype containing the b-allele was responsible for the observed genotype effect.


The authors' results suggest that the NOS3 27-bp-VNTR b/b genotype independent of other risk factors act in concert with male sex to substantially increase risk of SAH. This effect is not mediated by any single NOS3 haplotype.