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Approved research

Gene x environment interactions between genetic variants and ethanol intake on triglyceride levels, liver and pancreatic diseases

Principal Investigator: Professor Robert Wagner
Approved Research ID: 43867
Approval date: April 11th 2019

Lay summary

Elevated levels of specific blood lipids can cause substantial damage to blood vessels and other organs. While there are much data on the risk emanating from increased cholesterol, data on simple fats (so called triglycerides) are less clear. There is data indicating that high levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream can lead to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Higher levels, even for a short duration, could cause damage to the pancreas, liver, brain and eye. A connection to pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancers in humans, could also be present. It has been assumed for a long time by physicians that dietary alcohol intake could lead to high or very high levels of triglycerides in specifically vulnerable persons. However, we do not exactly know if there are such persons and who these persons are. It is also not known if an unfortunate combination of a predisposition and alcohol intake indeed leads to health consequences in these individuals. During our project with an expected duration of 12 months, we think that we would be able to find answers for these questions. The generated data would also substantially contribute to future recommendations on personalised diet.