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No more broken hearts

Russian cientists found a gene responsible for the development of myocardial infarction

Lomonosov Moscow State University

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IMAGE: This image shows the narrowing of the arteries shown on the ultrasound. The green color indicates the plaque area. view more

Credit: Lomonosov Moscow State University

A team of the Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists investigated the genetic mechanisms underlying the development of the coronary atherosclerosis. The obtained results are potentially valuable for estimating the risk of the myocardial infarction. An article on the research project was published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.

The cardia? ischemia is a significant medical and social problem. The disease is currently one of the main causes of death and disability all over the world. Alexander Balatskiy, one of the research project's authors, tells that according to the results of the study, mutations in gene encoding the T-cadherin protein correlates to the development of the cardia? ischemia. This discovery will enable better prognosis of the atherosclerosis earlier stages development in future.

The initial manifestation of the cardiac ischemia is usually the acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Intravascular thrombosis occurs on a damaged atherosclerotic plaque, which leads to the myocardial infarction (MI). The average stenosis of the infarct-related artery is about 48% (which means, the plaque blocks 48% of the vessel diameter). For that reason the patients with small vulnerable plaques may not suffer from a heart pain or other ischemic symptoms, thought to be at high risk of acute myocardial infarction. In cases when an atherosclerosis plaque and the cardia? ischemia are developing gradually, the stable angina pectoris appears as the first sign of the disease.

'The essence of our study was in researching how does the T-cadherin protein influence the development of the cardia? ischemia, particularly, its initial stage: an unexpected MI or a progressive development of angina (heart pain),' tells Alexander Balatskiy, MD, clinical diagnostic laboratory of the Medical scientific and educational centre, the Lomonosov Moscow State University. 'The data showed that the T-cadherin influenced the development of the cardiovascular diseases, though its exact functions remained unclear. We managed to detect that one of the mutations of the the T-cadherin gene correlates with the nature of the cardiac ischemia.'

The study population included 187 men aged 26-55 years who recently acquired the disease CHD.

'We used the genetic test to detect, whether the T-cadherin gene mutations, influencing the amount of the protein in cells, are linked to the development of the MI or angina,' tells Alexander Balatskiy. 'The DNA of the patients with the varying nature of the diseases' initial stage was taken from the MSU Faculty of Medicine biobank. Then we compared the frequencies of mutations in different groups and evaluated its influence on the development of the disease separately, and in combination with such well-known risk factors as obesity, smoking, hypertension and high cholesterol'.

Scientists detected that the genetically determined changes in the T-cadherin level were associated with the nature of the cardiac ischemia onset: MI or the stable angina pectoris. This fact confirms that the T-cadherin participates in the pro?ess of the atherosclerosis development and influences the stability of the atherosclerotic lesions. The obtained results may be further used for estimating the risk of the MI development and predicting the pattern of the atherosclerosis initial formation.

The authors of the work assume that studying the mutations in the T-cadherin gene would not only help to define its clinical significance, but also contribute to the fundamental research of the protein's functions.

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