HealthDay News — High levels of stem cell factor (SCF) are associated with reduced risk of mortality and cardiovascular events, according to a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Harry Björkbacka, PhD, from Lund University in Sweden, and colleagues examined the correlation between circulating levels of SCF and risk for development of cardiovascular events and death. SCF was analyzed from plasma from 4742 participants in the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study; participants were followed for a mean of 19.2 years.

The researchers found that participants with high baseline levels of SCF had lower cardiovascular and all-cause mortality and reduced risk of heart failure, stroke, and myocardial infarction. There was a correlation for smoking, diabetes, and high alcohol consumption with lower levels of SCF. 

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After adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, the highest versus the lowest SCF quartile remained independently associated with lower risk of cardiovascular (hazard ratio [HR], 0.59; 95% CI, 0.43-0.81) and all-cause mortality (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.57-0.81) and with lower risk of heart failure (HR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.31-0.8) and stroke (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.47-0.92) but not myocardial infarction (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.72-1.27).

“The findings provide clinical support for a protective role of SCF in maintaining cardiovascular integrity,” the authors write.

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Björkbacka H, Yao Mattisson I, Wigren M, et al. Plasma stem cell factor levels are associated with risk of cardiovascular disease and death [published online August 26, 2017]. J Intern Med. doi:10.1111/joim.12675