According to a new study, elevated levels of beta-2 microglobulin, a protein found in women's blood was connected to a higher risk of ischemic stroke.
The study discovered that an elevated level of beta-2 microglobulin, which is found on the surface of many cells, was connected to an increased risk of ischemic stroke among women. The most common type of stroke, ischemic stroke occurs when there is a blockage in the blood supply to the brain. Beta-2 microglobulin may also be a marker for inflammation.
“Latest studies have discovered connection between beta-2 microglobulin and heart disease,” said study author Pamela Rist, ScD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and also a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “But, less is known about the connection between beta-2 microglobulin and ischemic stroke.”
Researchers observed at women with an average age of 61 participated in the Nurses’ Health Study who provided blood samples from 1989 to 1990 and who had no history of stroke or cancer. Participants were completed the questionnaires regarding their medical history and lifestyle every two years.
To know more about beta-2 microglobulin and any possible connection to stroke, researchers assessed the protein levels in 473 study participants who later had an ischemic stroke as well as 473 participants of the same age who did not have a stroke. They were also matched by other factors that could influence stroke risk, such as whether they smoked or underwent hormone treatments. After an average duration of nine years from the beginning of the study, the strokes occurred.
Beta-2 Microglobulin Levels And Stroke Occurence
Researchers observed that participants who later had an ischemic stroke had elevated levels of beta-2 microglobulin than those who did not have a stroke. The average level of the protein was 1.86 milligrams per liter in participants who had ischemic strokes, where it was 1.80 mg/L in those who did not have a stroke.
The researchers segregated the participants into four groups according to their levels of the beta-2 microglobulin. Those in the highest quarter of beta-2 microglobulin levels were 56 percent more expected to have a stroke than those in the bottom quarter. In the top quarter, 163 of the 283 participants had strokes, compared to 106 of the 227 participants in the bottom quarter.
The results were adjusted for additional factors that could impact stroke risk, like physical activity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Rist mentioned that drawbacks of the study are that it was performed mostly among white women and that it could not observe any changes in protein levels.
“Given the high rate of disability from stroke, it is critical to find people who may be at increased risk of this disease. This protein might be a marker that could help us in the battle against stroke,” explained Rist. “Additional studies are required to verify if beta-2 microglobulin levels can be altered by means of lifestyle changes.”