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Scientists ID Gene Linked to Artery Plaque Ruptures

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A gene that appears to make plaques in arteries more likely to rupture and cause potentially deadly blood clots has been identified by U.S. researchers. The finding may lead to new drugs that target the gene in order to reduce the risk of plaque ruptures.

The Columbia University team said previous research indicated this gene played a role in plaque rupture, but they were surprised to find just how strong an effect the gene has, BBC News reported.

The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Most people have plaques by the time they're young adults, but most pose no risk to health. However, about 2 percent of plaques have the potential to burst and cause blood clots that can trigger heart attacks or strokes, BBC News reported.

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