Research Article| Volume 221, ISSUE 2, P521-526, April 2012

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Increased leukocyte Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase activity predicts the presence and severity of coronary vasospastic angina



      Although inhibition of Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase (ROCK) has been shown to prevent coronary vasospastic angina (CVA), direct evidence linking ROCK activity and CVA is lacking. Accordingly, we investigated whether ROCK activity is an independent marker for CVA and is altered after treatment with antispastic medications.

      Methods and results

      We prospectively studied 31 Taiwanese patients who were diagnosed with CVA and 33 control subjects. Subject demographics were recorded, and blood samples were obtained at baseline in all participants and in CVA patients after 3 months of antispastic treatment. Compared with control subjects, leukocyte ROCK activity was greater in CVA patients (136% versus 91%, P < 0.001). A cutoff value for leukocyte ROCK activity of 104% predicted the presence of CVA with specificity and sensitivity rates of 88% and 84%, respectively. ROCK activity increased with the severity of CVA (P for trend < 0.001). Following 3-month treatment of antispastic agents, leukocyte ROCK activity, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and interleukin-6 levels were reduced by 43%, 42% and 27%, respectively (P < 0.05 for all).


      Increased levels of leukocyte ROCK activity independently predicted the presence of CVA and correlated with CVA severity. Treatment with antispastic agents substantially reduced the level of leukocyte ROCK activity.


      • ROCK activity increased with the severity of CVA.
      • Increased ROCK activity predicted the presence of CVA.
      • Treatment with antispastic agents reduced the level of ROCK activity.


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