Cardiac biomarker: A protein that regulates heart-muscle contractions may help to diagnose heart attacks in the 60% to 70% of patients admitted to the hospital with undetermined chest pain, according to a U.S.-led study in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. Cardiac biomarkers are proteins released into the bloodstream that signal a heart attack has occurred and its severity. The most widely used biomarker, cardiac troponin-I, takes up to six hours to be detected, and elevated levels also can indicate severe infections and other conditions.
Experiments on rats and human blood samples found that cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C), a large protein that plays a key role in stabilizing the heart, is a potentially faster, more precise cardiac biomarker than troponin-I, researchers said. Initial experiments showed significantly higher levels of cMyBP-C in rats with induced heart attack compared with control animals.
Further experiments found greater concentrations of cMyBP-C than cardiac troponin-I in blood samples from 16 heart attack patients compared with 11 healthy controls. Laboratory tests showed cMyBP-C is released quickly and can be detected up to 12 hours following a heart attack.
Caveat: It isn’t known if cMyBP-C is released from ischemic, dying or injured cells, or a combination of the three. The research was carried out in rats and a small number of blood samples from humans.
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