New Biomarker for Heart Disease?
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.
People with 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 Heart Journal.
A more 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.
Future 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.
Source: European Heart Journal