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.