Last year, scientists reported that a person's risk of a heart attack is doubled if he or she produces a particular version of FLAP, known more technically as 5-lipoxygenase activating protein. A troublesome variant of this protein boosts production of the inflammatory hormone leukotriene B4. Now, researchers report that an experimental drug suppresses this inflammation mechanism.
Excess leukotriene B4 could cause a heart attack by triggering the rupture of fatty plaques in arteries, says study coauthor Hákon Hákonarson of Decode Genetics of Reykjavik, Iceland. Such ruptures can lead to blood clots and can also shed fragments that dam blood vessels downstream.