High factor H-related protein 1 expression ups ACVD risk

05 Dec 2021
High factor H-related protein 1 expression ups ACVD risk

Elevated expression of the factor H-related protein 1 (FHR-1) seems to be a risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD), a recent study has found.

Using plasma samples from 244 patients with advanced ACVD and 525 healthy, age-matched controls, the researchers found that the homozygous deletion of the CFHR1 gene, which encodes for FHR-1, was more common in the latter group (5.2 percent vs 1.2 percent), suggesting a potentially protective function against ACVD.

These findings were confirmed in a larger cohort of ACVD patients (n=1,217), in which the homozygous deletion of the CFHR1 gene only had a prevalence of 1.3 percent. Consolidating results from both cohorts, the researchers said that the absence of such gene deletion conferred a 4.5-fold higher risk of developing ACVD.

In turn, patients in the first ACVD cohort showed significantly higher levels of FHR-1 than healthy controls (39.2 vs 26.5 µg·mL–1; p<0.0001). Similarly, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were found to be elevated in ACVD patients, with a mean concentration of 10.3±1.0 mg/dL. In healthy controls, CRP levels were below the threshold of detection.

Notably, there was also a significant and positive correlation between CRP and FHR-1 (p<0.001), suggesting that the latter could induce inflammation in ACVD patients. Moreover, FHR-1 also showed a clear correlation with concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, pointing to another potential role of the protein in atherosclerosis.

“Further studies are therefore needed to confirm the above results and to analyzse the mechanisms of action of FHR-1,” the researchers said. “Because inflammation exacerbates atherosclerosis, the inhibition of FHR-1 or its associated signaling pathways should be evaluated to determine whether inhibition of FHR1 would be beneficial to ACVD patients.”

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