Prediction of cardiovascular mortality in patients with coronary artery disease using plasma and genetic markers of oxidative stress

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. The consequences of CAD severely burden the Canadian health care system, and expensive therapeutic solutions have only limited capacity for preventing or reversing the disease. Oxidized low density lipoprotein particles (oxLDL) contribute to the progression of CAD. OxLDL are a harmful byproduct produced by oxidative stress, which occurs when the production of free radicals in the body exceeds the body’s ability to neutralize and eliminate them. The environmental factors that increase the risk of CAD, such as poor nutrition, smoking, obesity, and low physical activity, are the same factors that increase oxidative stress levels in the body. Claire Heslop is studying the influence of oxidative stress on long-term survival among people with CAD, and investigating genetic differences that contribute to this relationship. She is evaluating whether markers of oxidative stress in the blood, as well as markers of inflammation, can predict risk of death from cardiovascular disease in individuals with CAD. She will also investigate oxidative stress genes to determine how inherited differences affect oxidative stress in the blood, the risk of CAD, and the risk of cardiovascular death. As part of this project, the relationships between CAD, oxidative stress markers and various physiological, lifestyle and socioeconomic risk factors will also be examined. Heslop’s work will contribute to our understanding of the role oxidative stress plays in coronary artery disease. This study may inspire the creation of new tools for diagnosing CAD and predicting long-term risk.