New risk factor for heart disease identified

December 11, 2003

Physicians can now identify overweight people at very high risk of developing heart disease, thanks to research published this week in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. People who suffer from heart disease are more likely to produce smaller versions of a protein called apolipoprotein(a).

Being overweight increases your risk of suffering from heart disease. However other factors, such as having high levels of low-density lipoprotein in the blood, also play a role. Now it seems that the size of apolipoprotein(a), the protein component of low-density lipoprotein(a), may also affect your risk. Apolipoprotein(a) comes in numerous different sizes, the largest of which has a molecular weight almost three times as great as the smallest.

A group of researchers, led by Diego Geroldi, took blood samples from 715 outpatients at the IRCCS San Matteo Hospital, Italy. These volunteers were then split into four groups depending on whether or not they suffered from heart disease, and whether or not they were clinically overweight.

By analysing the samples, the researchers discovered that overweight people suffering from heart disease were more likely to produce a version of apolipoprotein(a) with a low molecular weight than overweight people with no history of heart disease.

The researchers write: "The presence of at least one low molecular weight version of apolipoprotein(a) is a reliable way of discriminating between overweight subjects with a high risk of heart disease and those without".

The researchers believe that by analysing apolipoprotein(a), physicians could calculate the overall risk of heart disease to people that are overweight. This assessment could then lead to "more intensive treatment of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors", such as smoking, blood pressure, weight, diet and exercise.

Volunteers of normal weight who suffered from heart disease were also more likely to produce low-molecular weight versions of apolipoprotein(a) than those with no history of heart disease. However, high blood pressure or smoking were more reliable ways of identifying those at high risk of heart disease in this group.

Apolipoprotein(a) is thought to interfere with the destruction of a protein called fibrin which is involved in the development of atherosclerosis and thrombosis. Both these diseases come under the umbrella of 'heart disease'. Perhaps the smaller versions of apolipoprotein(a) promote these conditions more than the larger versions.
-end-
This release is based on the following article:

Relationship between apolipoprotein(a) size polymorphism and coronary heart disease in overweight subjects
Enzo Emanuele, Emmanouil Peros. Piercarlo Minoretti, Columba Falcone, Angela D'Angelo, Lorenza Montagna and Diego Geroldi
BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2003, 3:12
To be published 12 December 2003

Upon publication, this article will be available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's Open Access policy at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2261/3/12/abstract

Please quote the URL in any stories you write, to enable your readers to access the full research article.

For further information about this research please contact Diego Geroldi by email at d.geroldi@smatteo.pv.it or by phone on 39-382-502568 (or if urgent +39 335 5647960)

Alternatively, or for more information about the journal or Open Access, please contact Gemma Bradley by email at press@biomedcentral.com or by phone on 44-207-323-0323 x2331

BMC Cardiovascular Disorders (http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmccardiovascdisord/) is published by BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com), an independent online publishing house committed to providing Open Access to peer-reviewed biological and medical research. This commitment is based on the view that immediate free access to research and the ability to freely archive and reuse published information is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science. BioMed Central currently publishes over 100 journals across biology and medicine. In addition to open-access original research, BioMed Central also publishes reviews, commentaries and other non-original-research content. Depending on the policies of the individual journal, this content may be open access or provided only to subscribers.

BioMed Central

Related Heart Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Cellular pathway of genetic heart disease similar to neurodegenerative disease
Research on a genetic heart disease has uncovered a new and unexpected mechanism for heart failure.

Mechanism linking gum disease to heart disease, other inflammatory conditions discovered
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has long been established, but the mechanism behind that association has, until now, remained a mystery.

New 'atlas' of human heart cells first step toward precision treatments for heart disease
Scientists have for the first time documented all of the different cell types and genes expressed in the healthy human heart, in research published in the journal Nature.

With a heavy heart: How men and women develop heart disease differently
A new study by researchers from McGill University has uncovered that minerals causing aortic heart valve blockage in men and women are different, a discovery that could change how heart disease is diagnosed and treated.

Heart-healthy diets are naturally low in dietary cholesterol and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Eating a heart-healthy dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils and nuts, which is also limits salt, red and processed meats, refined-carbohydrates and added sugars, is relatively low in dietary cholesterol and supports healthy levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

Pacemakers can improve heart function in patients with chemotherapy-induced heart disease
Research has shown that treating chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy with commercially available cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) delivered through a surgically implanted defibrillator or pacemaker can significantly improve patient outcomes.

Arsenic in drinking water may change heart structure raising risk of heart disease
Drinking water that is contaminated with arsenic may lead to thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber in young adults, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

New health calculator can help predict heart disease risk, estimate heart age
A new online health calculator can help people determine their risk of heart disease, as well as their heart age, accounting for sociodemographic factors such as ethnicity, sense of belonging and education, as well as health status and lifestyle behaviors.

Wide variation in rate of death between VA hospitals for patients with heart disease, heart failure
Death rates for veterans with ischemic heart disease and chronic heart failure varied widely across the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system from 2010 to 2014, which could suggest differences in the quality of cardiovascular health care provided by VA medical centers.

Heart failure: The Alzheimer's disease of the heart?
Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Read More: Heart Disease News and Heart Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.