Professor Jonathan Schisler's team has discovered the possible causes of coronary heart disease. This opens the doors to the creation of new diagnostic tools for those who have family cases. In the future, perhaps, this might even lead to the creation of ad hoc prenatal tests.
According to the study, subjects with clean arteries exhibit higher levels of CXCL5 protein. It seems that this acts as a protective agent against coronary heart disease. This suggests that there is a genetic predisposition to the underlying problem and that acting on CXCL5 levels could prevent it.
The researchers analyzed blood samples and ultrasounds of 143 people over 65 years of age. All those involved were at the UNC Medical Center for cardiovascular screening. The analyzes revealed that people with clean arteries had genetic variants near the coding gene CXCL5.
Previous studies had linked the CXCL5 protein to inflammation, which had led researchers to consider it dangerous. Recent research suggests instead that it helps to limit fatty and cholesterol sores in the arteries. Schisler's study tests for the first time its protective role against coronary heart disease.
The search has a limit: it did not involve healthy subjects acting as a control group. Nonetheless, if the discovery was proven it would have an invaluable tool for early diagnosis of the disease. With time, you might even think of genetic testing for those who have family cases.