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Genetic trigger for heart attack

 
  May, 11 2004 10:53
your information resource in human molecular genetics
 
     
A single base mutation in a key gene may affect an individual's susceptibility to heart attack, research in Nature (06 May 2004, Vol. 429, No. 6987, pp. 72-75) suggests.

Heart attacks have become one of the leading causes of death in the world. As the coronary artery ruptures, many different inflammation-mediating molecules are released, including one called lymphtoxin-alpha LTA. Toshihiro Tanaka and colleagues found that patients who had suffered a heart attack were more likely to carry a specific mutation within the gene that codes for galectin-2, a protein known to bind LTA. Changes in galectin-2 may affect the amount of LTA that is secreted, which may then affect the inflammatory process, the authors speculate.

The study pinpoints galectin-2 as a risk factor for heart attacks. This should further our understanding of the causes behind myocardial infarction, the authors say.

CONTACT:

Toshihiro Tanaka (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), Tokyo, Japan)
Tel: +81 3 5449 5675, E-mail: toshitan@ims.u-tokyo.ac.jp

(C) Nature press release.


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