Researchers in the UK have identified a potential new diagnostic biomarker for heart attacks.
Presently, one of the gold-standards for diagnosis of heart attacks, or acute myocardial infarctions, is scanning for the presence of the proteins troponin I and troponin T, as they are produced specifically in the heart and are almost completely absent in the blood in healthy individuals.
However, even troponins are not ideal markers, since they are released somewhat slowly following a heart attack and remain in the blood for up to 10 days afterwards, hindering the diagnosis of any secondary heart attacks.
In search for better biomarkers, researchers at King's College London performed a proteomic analysis of all the proteins released by mouse hearts following induced heart attacks.
They identified 320 proteins not released by normal hearts, including all the currently employed biomarkers.
Only a handful of these proteins were specific to the heart, but among those, one very promising lead was cardiac myosin-binding protein C cMyBP-C; within 5 minutes following a heart attack it became nearly 20 fold more abundant than before, one of the highest increases of all 320 identified proteins.
In fact, cMyBP-C was abundant following even minor heart attacks, suggesting it could be very useful in such instances.
The researchers are now continuing their investigation and examining the time course of cMyBP-C release following heart attacks and its persistence in the blood of mice, to further determine this protein's potential value.
The study appears in this month's Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.