Recent findings suggest
new links between lung disease and disease of the heart. An increased blood level of a protein produced by a diseased lung was
found to be associated with increased mortality in heart patients.
bad lungs or who smoke get heart disease, but the exact molecular mechanism
behind this was never clear.
A biomarker or
biological marker is a substance that can be used as an indicator of a
particular biological disease. For example Trop-T is one biomarker whose
elevated level points to a heart attack.
The biomarker being
discussed is called surfactant protein-D (SP-D). It is produced by chronically inflamed lungs. SP-D that leaks
from damaged lungs has anti-inflammatory
and antioxidant properties. Whether SP-D itself is an
accelerator of atherosclerosis, i.e. whether it can speed up the collection of
fatty materials along the walls of arteries is not known. It is however now clear that lung inflammation plays a role in the pathogenesis of heart and
blood-vessel disease. Results of the study were published in the European
detailed study is mandatory since findings would have colossal significance. The SP-D protein as a
biomarker to risk-stratify cardiovascular-disease patients would gain the upper
hand over traditional markers like blood cholesterol and C-reactive protein.
studies that can clarify if SP-D is notorious in accelerating atherosclerosis
are also called for since this would mean development of new drugs or molecules
that block this protein from getting into the blood. It would help people cope
better with atherosclerosis.
: European Heart Journal