New protein markers identified that could help understand heart disease better
Washington: Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah, have found that elevated levels of two recently identified proteins in the body are inflammatory markers and indicators of the presence of cardiovascular disease.
These newly identified markers of inflammation, GlycA and GlycB, have the potential to contribute to better understanding of the inflammatory origins of heart disease and may be used in the future to identify a heart patient's future risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Inflammation occurs in the body in response to tissue damage, irritation, or infection. Inflammation is often associated with injury (i.e., sprained ankle), infection (i.e., strep throat), and auto-immune diseases (i.e., rheumatoid arthritis). However, it has been shown that inflammation is also a risk factor for heart disease.
"There are at least two benefits evident from this study," J. Brent Muhlestein, MD, lead researcher and co-director of cardiovascular research at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute said.
"First, a new marker of heart attack or stroke may help us to more effectively identify which patients are at risk. Second, now that we know GlycA and GlycB are important predictors of heart disease, we'll seek to understand more about the physiology of these proteins - what causes them to increase and how we can we treat elevated levels," Muhlestein said.
Levels of GlycA and GlycB were determined from a blood test called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, which was developed to determine the number of lipid particles contained in different cholesterol parameters.
Like C-reactive protein, one of the most well-known and studied inflammatory markers shown to be associated with cardiovascular disease, GlycA and GlycB are acute phase proteins with plasma concentrations that increase or decrease in response to changes in the levels of inflammation throughout the body.
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