Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
Protein may protect against heart attack

DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

A naturally occurring protein, dickkopf-related protein 3 (DKK3), could hold the key to protecting against heart attacks and strokes caused by atherosclerosis, according to new research by King's College London researchers.

The study, which was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and published in the journal Circulation, suggests that the protein could ultimately be used to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Scientists measured the level of DKK3 in samples collected from 574 people over five years. They found that those people with higher levels of DKK3 were less likely to develop atherosclerosis over the course of the five year period and were also less likely to die from a or .

This correlation was independent of other atherosclerosis risk factors such as and cholesterol levels.

Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries. When this material breaks down a blood clot can form blocking the blood supply to the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.

Mice bred to be genetically deficient in the DKK3 protein also developed larger, less stable atherosclerotic plaques than those who could produce the .

DKK3 deficient mice were also less able to regrow the endothelial lining coating their blood vessels after it had been damaged. This suggests that DKK3 is able to protect against atherosclerosis by helping the endothelial lining repair itself at the first sign of damage, before any fatty deposits can build up.

Professor Qingbo Xu, John Parker Chair of Cardiovascular Sciences at the BHF Centre of Research Excellence, King's College London, said: 'Our work suggests that we could use a simple blood test to find seemingly healthy people who are at risk of heart attack, and would not routinely be identified as at risk by their GP.

'Ultimately it may also be possible to boost DDK3 levels and protect people against the fatty build ups which can cause a heart attack or stroke.'

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'Each year in the UK there are around 200,000 hospital visits due to heart attacks. This research shows that it might be possible to treat the root cause of this devastating disease, ultimately saving lives.

'By identifying a new protective molecule this research may lead to new medicines to further reduce the risk of a attack.'

Explore further: Combined strategies better assess heart disease risks

Related Stories

Combined strategies better assess heart disease risks

June 2, 2017
A new strategy combining five separate medical tests provided a significantly better risk assessment of cardiovascular disease among adults, compared to traditional measures, according to a study published in Circulation.

Heart healing therapy shows promise

June 6, 2017
A potential therapy to help patients recover from a heart attack has been identified by researchers.

Aspirin does little or nothing for hard arteries, researchers find

June 5, 2017
For decades, aspirin has been widely used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. Now, a team led by a University of Florida Health researcher has found that aspirin may provide little or no benefit for certain patients ...

Researchers find link between a high fat diet, obesity and cardiovascular disease risk

February 13, 2017
Obesity and a diet high in fat could lead to a harmful activation of the immune system, increasing a person's risk of heart disease, according to a study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Heart test changes could save lives

April 25, 2017
New advice for doctors could prevent almost 3000 heart attacks being missed each year, Edinburgh researchers say. They have called for the guidelines on using blood tests to diagnose heart attacks to be urgently implemented ...

Heart attacks diagnosed quicker by new blood test

April 5, 2017
Scientists from King's College London have developed a new blood test that is more sensitive in detecting damaged heart muscle caused by a heart attack.

Recommended for you

Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?

November 17, 2017
The buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries is an unfortunate part of aging. But by studying the genetic makeup of people who maintain clear arteries into old age, researchers led by UNC's Jonathan Schisler, PhD, have identified ...

New model estimates odds of events that trigger sudden cardiac death

November 16, 2017
A new computational model of heart tissue allows researchers to estimate the probability of rare heartbeat irregularities that can cause sudden cardiac death. The model, developed by Mark Walker and colleagues from Johns ...

Popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings may change, damage heart muscle cells

November 16, 2017
Chemicals used to make some popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings—including cinnamon, clove, citrus and floral—may cause changes or damage to heart muscle cells, new research indicates.

Possible use for botulinum toxin to treat atrial fibrillation

November 16, 2017
From temporarily softening wrinkles to easing migraines, botulinum toxin has become a versatile medical remedy because of its ability to block nerve signals that can become bothersome or risky.

Proteome of the human heart mapped for the first time

November 15, 2017
A healthy heart beats about two billion times during a lifetime, thanks to the interplay of more than 10,000 proteins. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) and the German Heart Centre at the Technical ...

First transcatheter implant for diastolic heart failure successful

November 15, 2017
Results presented today at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions and published in Circulation show that a new device designed to treat diastolic heart failure is safe and effective. The first patient in the randomized, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.