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Blood marker for peripheral artery disease

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have shown that high levels of a specific protein circulating in the blood are an accurate marker for a severe type of peripheral artery disease that narrows the arteries in the legs and can raise the risk of heart attack.

The protein, called circulating fatty acid synthase (cFAS), is an enzyme that manufactures saturated fatty acids. Until recently, fatty acid synthase was thought to be found only inside cells.

The new study suggests that fatty acid synthase also circulates in the bloodstream and may have an important role in the plaque formation characteristic of cardiovascular disease.

The team collected blood samples from 87 patients before they underwent vascular surgery to treat chronic limb-threatening ischaemia.

The researchers found that cFAS levels in the blood were independently associated with the disease. A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and smoking status also were strongly and independently correlated with chronic limb-threatening ischaemia.

When all three of these factors were considered together, they could predict the presence of the disease with 83% accuracy.

Image credit | iStock

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