Protecting the Heart
It’s all about the heart.
Children with Kawasaki disease can be treated for all of the symptoms like red eyes, swelling and rash. However, the real concern for them among physicians is protecting their veins, and ultimately their heart. Complications from Kawasaki can lead to inflammation in the blood vessels and possibly fatal coronary artery lesions. Until now though, it was nearly impossible for doctors to predict which Kawasaki patients were more likely to suffer these complications.
Researchers at the University Of Utah School Of Medicine may have found a way. They’ve discovered a variation in a gene key to virus resistance may also increase the risk of developing coronary problems in Kawasaki patients. The variation in gene IFITM3 may make it more difficult for patients to fight off viral infections. According to John H. Weis, Ph.D., professor of pathology “viruses may be an important causative agent for Kawasaki disease or the coronary artery lesions associated with it.”
Kawasaki disease occurs in 10 of every 10-thousand children in the United States, and coronary problems develop in between five to seven percent of the patients. The new research from the University of Utah will be easier to identify that small percentage, and they aren’t stopping there. “We hope that the results of our study will spur new research into the key genes and proteins involved in Kawasaki disease and the development of coronary artery lesions,” says Neil E. Bowles, Ph.D., research associate professor of pediatrics.
You can read the full results of the research in the May 14th online edition of Molecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine.