Special protein links psoriasis to heart disease

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A special protein, Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a) is a genetically determined molecule which appears to have an important role in the development of heart disease. High levels of Lp (a) have been shown to substantially increase the risk of heart disease, though exactly how this happens is unclear. It may be that Lp (a) accelerates the build-up of fatty deposits in the arterial wall, leading to progressive blockage of the arteries. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility that high levels of Lp(a) may be partly responsible for the increased risk of heart disease found in patients with psoriasis. Read psoriasis and the Heart

Thirty-four patients with psoriasis and 26 healthy control subjects took part in the study. Results showed that patients with psoriasis had significantly higher serum levels of Lp(a) compared with health controls.

Comment: High levels of Lp(a) in patients with psoriasis may represent another piece in the jigsaw linking underlying inflammation with psoriasis and an increased risk of heart disease. Once again, this finding draws attention to the fact that psoriasis is not a single disease entity, but is linked to a much wider group of diseases with (possibly) a common underlying mechanism.

Reference:
Pietrzak A, Kadzielewski J, Janowski K et al. Lipoprotein (a) in patients with psoriasis: associations with lipid profiles and disease severity. Int J Dermatol 2009;48:379-87.

Article prepared by:
Dr David Ashton MD PhD
27 April 2009