Study Links Proteins, Heart Disease

Published Online: Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Johns Hopkins University has published the first study to establish a link between proteins and heart disease. Lipoprotein a and apolipoprotein a, also known as Lp(a) and apo(a), are cholesterol-carrying proteins and may now be used as predictors of cardiovascular problems.

Researchers monitored 833 dialysis patients for 2 years and found that those with high levels of Lp(a) had a 38% higher risk of heart disease. Patients whose apo(a) particles were of the smallest size had a 58% higher risk of heart disease. For those patients with both high levels of Lp(a) and the smallest size particles of apo(a), an even greater risk of heart disease existed-73%. The results of this study, which were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, demand further research to determine what effect adjusting these levels and sizes will have on the risk of cardiovascular problems.

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