Myocardial ischemia is one of the leading causes of death and disability around the world. It occurs when your heart is prevented from getting enough oxygen, typically through a lack of blood flow. For years, scientists did not understand how cardiac ischemia developed in the body, but a recent study performed by a team at Lomonosov Moscow State University may have found a link between the gene T-cadherin, the development of heart disease, and how it functions in combination with factors like obesity, smoking, and high cholesterol. This discovery could aid in identifying coronary atherosclerosis at an earlier stage.
How Does Cardiac Ischemia Occur?
Some patients who experience severe pain and obstruction in the heart may be experiencing the first signs of angina pectoris. Sometimes, angina pectoris isn’t even severe in nature, but pain of a lighter, more chronic variety. However, in other cases, severe chest pain may be a sign of cardiac ischemia.
Cardiac ischemia initially develops in the body through acute coronary syndrome. The heart is exposed to this condition because of either a partial or complete blockage of the heart’s arteries. The initial disease then manifests itself in the form of intravascular thrombosis, leading to a myocardial infarction. This occurs on what is called a damaged atherosclerotic plaque, and the plaque ends up blocking close to 50% of the vessel, though many patients with the disease do not experience any symptoms related to heart pain. They are, however, at risk for myocardial infarction.
How Does a Protein Aid in the Diagnosis of Cardiac Ischemia?
Using a genetic test, scientists in the Lomonosov Moscow State University study sought to determine whether the T-cadherin gene mutations were linked to angina pectoris or myocardial ischemia. Through their research, they found that these genetically determined changes were associated with the onset of cardiac ischemia, both in myocardial infarctions or stable angina pectoris. With this information, they confirmed that T-cadherin did participate in the process of atherosclerosis development and helped to influence the stability of the atherosclerotic lesions.
This discovery of the T-cadherin protein as a result of this study may aid in helping doctors diagnose cardiac ischemia in its initial stage and provide medications like inderal and nitroglycerin, both of which help reduce stress in the heart and prevent the angina attacks.