Enzyme could be major player in artery disease

Enzyme could be major player in artery disease
Levels of an enzyme produced when fatty materials build up within the walls of the artery could be as good at predicting heart disease as high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, according to new research published in The Lancet.

The scientists - who were funded by the British Heart Foundation - were looking at an enzyme called Lp-PLA2 and its association with coronary heart disease, stroke and other causes of death.

They found that the enzyme was strongly linked with artery disease but further research would be needed to show conclusively that the enzyme was a cause, rather than an indicator, of disease.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said:

"This BHF-funded research shows that Lp-PLA2, an enzyme that's produced by inflammatory cells involved in the development of artery disease, appears to play a significant role in the progression of that disease.

"These findings should stimulate research to find drugs that may reduce the levels of Lp-PLA2.

"The acid test will then be to find out if such drugs reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in large clinical trials. It will be some time yet before we have the answers."

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