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Cardiovascular disease could be predicted thanks to enzyme

Wednesday 22nd May 2019
A new study has suggested that the PDIA1 enzyme found in blood plasma could be the key to predicting a predisposition to cardiovascular disease.
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While there are certain life elements that can lead to someone becoming predisposed to cardiovascular disease - such as smoking, obesity, diabetes or high cholesterol - the condition can affect people who are otherwise completely healthy. It is thought that there might be a genetic component to this, and a recent study has found that the key could be an enzyme.

Researchers at Brazil’s Center for Research on Redox Processes in Biomedicine (Redoxome) found that there seems to be a link between cardiovascular disease and an enzyme found in blood plasma, belonging to the protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) family. It is thought that low levels of the enzyme, known as PDIA1, could predispose people to heart disease.

The team of scientists took blood samples from 35 volunteers, all of whom were healthy and had no history of any kind of cardiovascular disease. None of the group used recreational drugs, smoked or took any kind of chronic medication. Their plasma was collected up to 15 times each, over a period of no more than 15 months.

After testing for PDIA1 levels, the researchers found that some people had high levels of the enzyme, while others had such low levels they could barely be detected. An individual’s PDIA1 level did not vary much at all over the 15-month period in which they were tested. 

Researchers then compared these results to 90 plasma samples from people with chronic cardiovascular disease. These consistently showed low levels of PDIA1, indicating that a lack of the enzyme might indicate a predisposition towards heart disease. The next step for the researchers is repeating this test for patients with acute coronary disease.

Professor Francisco Rafael Martins Laurindo from the University of São Paulo's Medical School, principal investigator for the study, said: “Our study showed that people with low plasma levels of PDIA1 have a more inflammatory protein profile and hence run a higher risk of thrombosis.”

Written by Matthew Horton

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