Protein May Be Marker for Stroke Risk

PAPP-A found at high levels in ruptured carotid plaques

FRIDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A) is found at high levels in the serum and carotid plaques of patients with vulnerable or ruptured plaques and may be useful in estimating stroke risk, according to a study in the June 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. PAPP-A is found in both men and women, but is elevated in pregnancy.

Giuseppe Sangiorgi, M.D., from the Minneapolis Heart Foundation in Minnesota, and colleagues measured PAPP-A levels in serum and plaques from 72 male and female patients undergoing carotid endarterectomies. The researchers classified the plaques as stable, vulnerable or ruptured with thrombus.

The researchers found that PAPP-A levels were significantly higher in both the serum and plaques of patients with vulnerable and ruptured plaques compared with stable plaques. PAPP-A was found in monocytes and macrophages within the cap or shoulder of vulnerable or ruptured plaques but not stable plaques, according to the study.

"Although clinical assessment is fundamental to estimate stroke risk, the future use of PAPP-A as a marker of vulnerable carotid atherosclerotic plaque may help in identifying patients at higher risk among those with carotid stenosis," Sangiorgi and colleagues conclude.

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