In the village of Crete Island Mylopotamos lies a gene that protects the heart and blood vessels. The discovery comes from a research team at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, coordinated by Dr. Eleftheria Zeggini. Thanks to the results obtained, new treatments for cardiovascular disease and the risk of heart attack could be developed.
Mylopotamos is a Greek village isolated from the rest of the world, whose inhabitants follow a diet rich in animal fat. With these premise one could think of a population with a very high rate of cardiovascular disease and infarction. Despite their diet, however, the inhabitants of Mylopotamos live long and in good health.
The researchers mapped the DNA of 250 inhabited Greek villages. They then compared it with the DNA of a control group of 3,200 people. Thus a genetic variant of the Dscaml1 gene, rs145556679, emerged. The rs145556679 variant corresponds to levels of bad blood in the lower blood. Thanks to the reduction of bad fats, it also reduces the risk of heart disease and circulatory system.
The rs145556679 variant produces a protein that forms nets within the blood vessels. These networks block bad cholesterol and prevent it from entering the vascular walls. This will prevent the formation of thrombi and reduce the risk of heart attack. The discovered protein is similar to Loxina, identified by Giuseppe Novelli's geneticist team at Tor Vergata University.
Both the protein produced by rs145556679 and Loxina are important for the development of new drugs. They open doors to new treatments that protect against heart disease and heart disease.