Paraoxonase-1 (PON1) is associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles and is believed to contribute to antiatherogenic properties of HDLs. We assessed the determinants of PON1 activity variation using different substrates of the enzyme. PON1 activity in serum samples from 922 participants in the San Antonio Family Heart Study was assayed using a reliable microplate format with three substrates: paraoxon, phenyl acetate and the lactone dihydrocoumarin. There were major differences among results from the three substrates in degree of effect by various environmental and genetic factors, suggesting that knowledge of one substrate activity alone may not provide a complete sense of PON1 metabolism. Three significant demographic covariates (age, smoking status and contraceptive usage) together explained 1-6% of phenotypic variance, whereas four metabolic covariates representing lipoprotein metabolism (apoAII, apoAI, triglycerides and non-HDL cholesterol) explained 4-19%. Genes explained 65-92% of phenotypic variance and the dominant genetic effect was exerted by a locus mapping at or near the protein structural locus (PON1) on chromosome 7. Additional genes influencing PON1 activity were localized to chromosomes 3 and 14. Our study identified environmental and genetic determinants of PON1 activity that accounted for 88-97% of total phenotypic variance, suggesting that few, if any, major biological determinants are unrepresented in the models.
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