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Tags: virus | heart | disease

Virus Tied to Heart Problems

Thursday, 24 January 2013 10:02 AM EST

Ohio State University researchers have identified a cardiovascular “missing link” between a latent herpes virus and at least some serious heart problems.
The findings, published online in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE, indicate people who have suffered a heart attack are more likely to have inflammatory proteins circulating in their blood than heart patients with less serious symptoms. What’s more, the OSU researchers found having more of one of these proteins in the blood was linked to the presence of antibodies that indicate a latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) “reactivation” — a reawakening of the dormant virus that can be triggered by stress.
"In the big picture, this may help clarify the role these viruses play in heart disease," said Ron Glaser, director of Ohio State's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Institute and professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics. "And it makes sense, because we know that some viral proteins can induce inflammation, affecting the lining of blood vessels, so that inflammation is in the right place to function as a significant risk factor for heart disease."
For the study, OSU researchers analyzed blood samples from 299 heart patients for antibodies produced when reactivation of EBV occurs. And when this antibody was detected, it was associated with immune system malfunctions connected to inflammation — a known risk factor for heart disease.
EBV, a human herpes virus that causes infectious mononucleosis and several different types of tumors, is estimated to affect 95 percent of Americans by adulthood, but once a person is infected, EBV typically remains dormant in the body. It can be reactivated without causing symptoms, and can lead to problems in the immune system.
Because stress is a known predictor of reactivation of EBV, that could explain how stress leads to chronic inflammation and eventually cardiovascular diseases.

© HealthDay

Researchers have identified a cardiovascular 'missing link' between a common herpes virus and some heart problems.
Thursday, 24 January 2013 10:02 AM
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