This study assessed the cross-sectional association between coronary artery calcification (CAC) and myocardial perfusion in an asymptomatic population.
Clinical studies showed that the prevalence of stress-induced ischemia increased with CAC burden among patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Whether an association between CAC and myocardial perfusion exists in subjects without a history of CHD remains largely unknown.
A total of 222 men and women, ages 45 to 84 years old and free of CHD diagnosis, in the Minnesota field center of the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) were studied. Myocardial blood flow (MBF) was measured using magnetic resonance imaging during rest and adenosine-induced hyperemia. Perfusion reserve was calculated as the ratio of hyperemic to resting MBF. Agatston CAC score was determined from chest multidetector computed tomography.
Mean values of hyperemic MBF and perfusion reserve, but not resting MBF, were monotonically lower across increasing CAC levels. After adjusting for age and gender, odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) of reduced perfusion reserve (<2.5) for subjects with CAC scores of 0, 0.1 to 99.9, 100 to 399, and ≥400 were 1.00 (reference), 2.16 (0.96 to 4.84), 2.81 (1.04 to 7.58), and 4.99 (1.73 to 14.4), respectively. Further adjustment for other coronary risk factors did not substantially modify the association. However, the inverse association between perfusion reserve and CAC attenuated with advancing age (p for interaction < 0.05).
Coronary vasodilatory response was associated inversely with the presence and severity of CAC in asymptomatic adults. Myocardial perfusion could be impaired by or manifest the progression to subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in the absence of clinical CHD.
The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between one's sense of control and visceral adipose tissue.
This cross-sectional study recruited 571 subjects (45 years and older) who were asymptomatic of CHD from Fort Worth, Texas from 2006 to 2008. Subjects completed a questionnaire, body measurements, a multi-slice computed tomography scan to assess for visceral adipose tissue (VAT) centered at the L4L5 spinal interspace, and serum chemistries. The natural log of L4L5 VAT (lnVAT) was used in all analyses to achieve normality of the data with final analyses including 506 participants. Linear regression was used to estimate unadjusted and adjusted beta-coefficients and standard errors for the association between sense of control and lnVAT.
A total of 506 participants were used in the data after adjusting for normality of the data. An increase in sense of control was associated with a decrease in lnVAT in the unadjusted (p < 0.001) and adjusted (p = 0.03) models. Other factors significantly associated with lnVAT in the adjusted model include age, BMI, male gender, non-Hispanic African American, and diet.
Sense of control remained as an independent factor associated with visceral adiposity despite adjusting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, including BMI. Future studies should focus on establishing a causal relationship between sense of control and visceral adiposity.
Sense of control; visceral adipose tissue; cardiovascular; psychosocial
Psychosocial stress is a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). The mechanisms are incompletely understood, although dysfunction of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis might be involved. We examined the association between cortisol responses to laboratory-induced mental stress and the progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC).
Methods and Results
Participants were 466 healthy men and women (mean age = 62.7±5.6 yrs), without history or objective signs of CHD, drawn from the Whitehall II epidemiological cohort. At the baseline assessment salivary cortisol was measured in response to mental stressors, consisting of a 5-min Stroop task and a 5-min mirror tracing task. CAC was measured at baseline and at 3 years follow up using electron beam computed tomography. CAC progression was defined as an increase >10 Agatston units between baseline and follow up. 38.2% of the sample demonstrated CAC progression over the 3 years follow up. There was considerable variation in the cortisol stress response, with approximately 40% of the sample responding to the stress tasks with an increase in cortisol of at least 1 mmol/l. There was an association between cortisol stress reactivity (per SD) and CAC progression (odds ratio = 1.27, 95% CI, 1.02–1.60) after adjustments for age, sex, pre-stress cortisol, employment grade, smoking, resting systolic BP, fibrinogen, body mass index, and use of statins. There was no association between systolic blood pressure reactivity and CAC progression (odds ratio per SD increase = 1.03, 95% CI, 0.85–1.24). Other independent predictors of CAC progression included age, male sex, smoking, resting systolic blood pressure, and fibrinogen.
Results demonstrate an association between heightened cortisol reactivity to stress and CAC progression. These data support the notion that cortisol reactivity, an index of HPA function, is one of the possible mechanisms through which psychosocial stress may influence the risk of CHD.
Black women experience higher rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than white women, though evidence for racial differences in subclinical CVD is mixed. Few studies have examined multiple roles (number, perceived stress, and/or reward) in relation to subclinical CVD, or whether those effects differ by race.
To investigate the effects of multiple roles on 2-year progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC).
Subjects were 104 black and 232 white women (mean age 50.8 years). Stress and reward from four roles (spouse, parent, employee, caregiver) were assessed on 5-point scales. CAC progression was defined as an increase of ≥10 Agatston units.
White women reported higher rewards from their multiple roles than black women, yet black women showed cardiovascular benefits from role rewards. Among black women only, higher role rewards were related significantly to lower CAC progression, adjusting for BMI, blood pressure, and other known CVD risk factors. Blacks reported fewer roles but similar role stress as whites; role number and stress were unrelated to CAC progression.
Rewarding roles may be a novel protective psychosocial factor for progression of coronary calcium among black women.
multiple roles; role stress; role reward; women; middle-aged; coronary artery calcium
To investigate the possibility that family history beyond early-onset coronary heart disease (CHD) might contribute to CHD susceptibility, we studied associations between additional family history and the coronary artery calcium score (CACS).
Associations between CACS and self-reports of CHD, stroke, and diabetes in first-degree relatives of 5,264 non-diabetic subjects were assessed using logistic and linear regression adjusting for risk factors; adjusted mean CACS estimates were determined by pooling results.
Family history of CHD alone and in combination with diabetes and/or stroke was significantly associated with a positive CACS compared to no family history with odds rations ranging from 1.7 (95% CI: 1.3, 2.3) to 1.9 (95% CI: 1.6, 2.3) and adjusted mean CACS estimates ranging from 137 (95% CI: 101, 173) to 184 (95% CI, 143, 226). Associations between family history of CHD and CACS were significant regardless of age at onset, sex, lineage, or number of relatives with CHD. The association between family history of diabetes only and CACS was also significant (OR, 1.3; 95% CI: 1.1, 1.7) with an adjusted mean CACS estimate of 122 (95% CI: 93, 151). Generally, family history of stroke had non-significant associations with CACS.
Numerous family history variables in addition to early-onset CHD are associated with subclinical atherosclerosis. Our results have implications for improving CHD risk assessment.
family history; coronary heart disease; stroke; diabetes; subclinical atherosclerosis
Short stature is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD); although the mechanisms for this relationship are unknown, shared genetic factors have been proposed. Subclinical atherosclerosis, measured by coronary artery calcification (CAC), is associated with CHD events and represents part of the biological continuum to overt CHD. Many molecular mechanisms of CAC development are shared with bone growth. Thus, we examined whether there was evidence of shared genes (pleiotropy) between adult stature and CAC.
877 asymptomatic white adults (46% men) from 625 families in a community-based sample had computed tomography measures of CAC. Pleiotropy between height and CAC was determined using maximum-likelihood estimation implemented in SOLAR.
Adult height was significantly and inversely associated with CAC score (P=0.01). After adjusting for age, sex, and CHD risk factors, the estimated genetic correlation between height and CAC score was -0.37 and was significantly different than 0 (P=0.001) and -1 (P<0.001). The environmental correlation between height and CAC score was 0.60 and was significantly different than 0 (P=0.024).
Further studies of shared genetic factors between height and CAC may provide important insight into the complex genetic architecture of CHD, in part through increased understanding of the molecular pathways underlying the process of both normal growth and disease development. Bivariate genetic linkage analysis may provide a powerful mechanism for identifying specific genomic regions associated with both height and CAC.
Genetics; Atherosclerosis; Calcium; Imaging; Stature
Despite growing attention to central obesity as a predictor of clinical coronary heart disease (CHD), there are few reports about the association between directly measured visceral obesity and subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in older adults. We examined this association in older community-dwelling adults without clinically recognized CHD.
Research Methods and Procedures
Older adults (190 men, BMI 27.2 ± 3.6 kg/m2; 220 women, BMI 25.8 ± 4.6) aged 55 to 88 years (median 69 years) with no history of CHD or coronary revascularization had an electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT) to measure coronary-artery calcification score (CACS), an estimate of coronary-plaque burden. Visceral and subcutaneous adiposity were assessed by a triple-slice EBCT scan at the lumbar 4–5 disc level and height, weight, and waist and hip circumferences were measured.
In sex-specific ordinal logistic regression analyses, no measure of obesity or body fat distribution, including body mass index, waist-hip ratio, waist girth, visceral and subcutaneous fat by EBCT, was significantly associated with CACS before or after adjusting for multiple covariates of CACS (age, smoking, alcohol intake, exercise, pulse pressure, LDL/HDL-cholesterol ratio, and fasting plasma glucose).
In older adults without clinically recognized CHD, body weight and fat distribution do not predict coronary artery plaque burden. These results raise questions about the value of weight reduction diets for preventing heart disease in elderly survivors without clinical heart disease.
Atherosclerosis; coronary disease; aging; population
Even among asymptomatic people at low risk (<10%) by Framingham Risk Score (FRS), high coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores signify higher predicted risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events. We sought to determine non-invasive factors (without radiation exposure) significantly associated with CAC in low-risk, asymptomatic persons. In a cross-sectional analysis, we studied 3046 participants from MESA at low 10-year predicted risk (FRS <10%) for CHD events. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association of novel markers with presence of any CAC (CAC >0) and advanced CAC (CAC ≥ 300). CAC >0 and CAC ≥ 300 were present in 30% and 3.5% of participants, respectively. Factor VIIIc, fibrinogen and sICAM were each associated with CAC presence (P ≤ 0.02); and C-reactive protein, D-dimer and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) with advanced CAC (P ≤ 0.03). The base model combining traditional risk factors had excellent discrimination for advanced CAC (C-statistic, 0.808). Addition of the 2 best-fit models combining biomarkers plus/minus CIMT improved the c-statistics to 0.822 and 0.820, respectively. All 3 models calibrated well, but were similar in estimating individual risk probabilities for advanced CAC (prevalence = 9.97%, 10.63% and 10.10% in the highest quartiles of predicted probabilities versus 0.26%, 0.26% and 0.26% in the lowest quartiles, respectively). In conclusion, in low risk individuals, traditional risk factors alone predicted advanced CAC with high discrimination and calibration. Biomarker combinations +/− CIMT were also significantly associated with advanced CAC, but improvement in prediction and estimation of clinical risk were modest compared to traditional risk factors alone.
coronary calcium; biomarkers; novel markers; low-risk; risk factors
Hypertension during pregnancy (HDP) increases the risk of future coronary heart disease (CHD), but it is unknown whether this association is mediated by renal injury. Reduced renal function is both a complication of HDP and a risk factor for CHD.
Logistic regression models were fit to examine the association between a history of HDP and the presence and extent of coronary artery calcification (CAC), a measure of subclinical coronary artery atherosclerosis, in 498 women from the Epidemiology of Coronary Artery Calcification Study (mean age 63.3 ± 9.3 years).
Fifty-two (10.4%) women reported a history of HDP. After adjusting for age at time of study participation, HDP was associated with increased serum creatinine later in life (p = 0.014). HDP was positively associated with the presence of CAC after adjusting for age at time of study participation (OR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.4-5.4). This association was slightly attenuated with adjustment for body size and blood pressure (OR = 2.4, 95% CI 1.2-4.9) but was not further attenuated with adjustment for serum creatinine and urinary albumin/creatinine ratio (OR = 2.6, 95% CI 1.3-5.3). Results were similar for CAC extent.
HDP may increase a woman's risk of future CHD beyond traditional risk factors and renal function. Women with a history of HDP should be monitored for potential increased risk of CHD as they age.
Major depression and depressive symptoms are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the impact of depression on early atherogenesis is less well known, particularly in women and minorities. This study examined whether depressive symptoms are associated with progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC) among women at mid-life.
The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) is a longitudinal, multi-site study assessing health and psychological factors in mid-life women. An ancillary study (SWAN Heart) evaluated subclinical atherosclerosis in women who reported no history of CVD or diabetes. In 346 women, CAC was measured twice by electron beam computed tomography, an average of 2.3 years apart. Progression, defined as an increase by 10 Agatston units or more, was analyzed using relative risk regression. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale.
Progression of CAC was observed in 67 women (19.1%). Each 1–SD higher CES-D score at baseline related to a 25% increased risk of CAC progression [RR 1.25, CI 1.06–1.47, p=0.007], adjusting for age, time between scans, ethnicity, education, menopausal status, and known CVD risk factors. This risk was similar to the risk induced by BMI [RR 1.31, CI 1.11–1.54, p=0.001] and systolic blood pressure [RR 1.28, CI 1.06–1.55, p=0.01].
Depressive symptoms were independently associated with progression of CAC in this cohort of midlife women. Depressive symptoms may represent a risk factor that is potentially modifiable for early prevention of CVD in women.
atherosclerosis; coronary calcium; women; depression; epidemiology
Cigarette smoking is a risk factor of coronary heart disease (CHD). Vascular calcification such as coronary artery calcium (CAC) and aortic calcium (AC) is associated with CHD. We hypothesized that cigarette smoking is associated with coronary artery and aortic calcifications in Japanese and Koreans with high smoking prevalence.
Random samples from populations of 313 Japanese and 302 Korean men aged 40 to 49 were examined for calcification of the coronary artery and aorta using electron beam computed tomography. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) and aortic calcium (AC) were quantified using the Agatston score. We examined the associations of cigarette smoking with CAC and AC after adjusting for conventional risk factors and alcohol consumption. Current and past smokers were combined and categorized into two groups using median pack-years as a cutoff point in each of Japanese and Koreans. The never smoker group was used as a reference for the multiple logistic regression analyses.
The odds ratios of CAC (score ≥10) for smokers with higher pack-years were 2.9 in Japanese (P<0.05) and 1.3 in Koreans (non-significant) compared to never smokers. The odds ratios of AC (score ≥100) for smokers with higher pack-years were 10.4 in Japanese (P<0.05) and 3.6 in Koreans (P<0.05).
Cigarette smoking with higher pack-years is significantly associated with CAC and AC in Japanese men, while cigarette smoking with higher pack-years is significantly associated with AC but not significantly with CAC in Korean men.
atherosclerosis; cigarette smoking; coronary calcium; aortic calcium; Japanese; Koreans
Both American and European guidelines recommend coronary artery calcification (CAC) as a tool for screening asymptomatic individuals at intermediate risk. These recommendations are based on epidemiological studies mostly in the United States (U.S.). We review (1) the use of CAC in primary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the U.S., (2) epidemiological studies of CAC in asymptomatic adults outside of the U.S., and (3) international epidemiological studies of CAC. This review does not consider clinical studies of CAC among patients or symptomatic individuals. Studies in the U.S. have documented that CAC is a strong independent predictor of CHD for both sexes, middle- to old-age groups, various ethnic groups, and diabetics and non-diabetics and that CAC plays an important role in reclassifying individuals at intermediate into high risk. Studies in Europe support these conclusions. The Electron-Beam Tomography, Risk factor Assessment among Japanese and U.S. men in the post-World-War-II birth cohort (ERA JUMP) Study is the first international research comparing subclinical atherosclerosis including CAC in Japanese, Japanese Americans, Koreas, and Caucasians. The study has demonstrated that Japanese had lower levels of atherosclerosis compared to Caucasians whereas Japanese Americans compared to Caucasians had similar or higher levels. CAC is being established as a screening tool for asymptomatic individuals in Europe and the U.S. CAC is a powerful research tool, enabling us to describe the difference in atherosclerotic burden across populations. Such research could elucidate factors responsible for the population difference, which may lead to prevention of CHD.
Inflammatory markers predict coronary heart disease (CHD). However, associations with coronary artery calcium (CAC), a marker of subclinical CHD, are not established.
We examined cross-sectional associations of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and fibrinogen with CAC presence (Agatston score > 0 by computed tomography) in 6,783 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants.
In all participants, those in the highest, compared to lowest, quartile of CRP had a relative risk (RR, 95% confidence interval) of 1.13 (1.06-1.19; p<0.01) for CAC in age, sex and ethnicity adjusted models. For highest versus lowest quartiles, relative risks were 1.22 (1.15-1.30; p<0.01) for IL-6 and 1.18 (1.11-1.24; p<0.01) for fibrinogen. Adjusting for CHD risk factors (smoking, diabetes, blood pressure, obesity and dyslipidemia) attenuated RRs. RRs for CAC were 1.05 (0.99-1.12; p=0.63) for CRP, 1.12 (1.06-1.20; p<0.01) for IL-6 and 1.09 (1.02-1.16; p=0.01) for fibrinogen in multivariable adjusted models. Results were similar for men and women and across ethnic groups.
Inflammatory markers were weakly associated with CAC presence and burden in MESA. Our data support the hypothesis that inflammatory biomarkers and CAC reflect distinct pathophysiology.
Atherosclerosis; Calcium; Inflammation; Population
Using data from the National Latino and Asian American Study collected in 2002–2003 (N=2,554), we assessed the adjusted odds of lifetime substance use disorder (SUD) associated with report of both unfair treatment and racial/ethnic discrimination. Among men, SUD was increased for those reporting low, moderate, and high levels of unfair treatment compared to those reporting no unfair treatment and patterns were similar for racial/ethnic discrimination. Among women, only those reporting high levels of unfair treatment were at increased risk of lifetime SUD and no associations were observed between racial/ethnic discrimination and lifetime SUD. Future research should examine the role discrimination plays in the development of substance misuse among Latinos.
Background and Aims
While a diet rich in anti-oxidant has been favorably associated with coronary disease and hypertension, limited data have evaluated the influence of such diet on subclinical disease. Thus, we sought to examine whether chocolate consumption is associated with calcified atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries (CAC).
In a cross-sectional design, we studied 2,217 participants of the NHLBI Family Heart Study. Chocolate consumption was assessed by a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire and CAC was measured by cardiac CT. We defined prevalent CAC using an Agatston score of at least 100 and fitted generalized estimating equations to calculate prevalence odds ratios of CAC.
There was an inverse association between frequency of chocolate consumption and prevalent CAC. Odds ratios (95% CI) for CAC were 1.0 (reference), 0.94 (0.66-1.35), 0.78 (0.53-1.13), and 0.68 (0.48-0.97) for chocolate consumption of 0, 1-3 times per month, once per week, and 2+ times per week, respectively (p for trend 0.022), adjusting for age, sex, energy intake, waist-hip ratio, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, ratio of total-to-HDL-cholesterol, non-chocolate candy, and diabetes mellitus. Controlling for additional confounders did not alter the findings. Exclusion of subjects with coronary heart disease or diabetes mellitus did not materially change the odds ratio estimates but did modestly decrease the overall significance (p = 0.07).
These data suggest that chocolate consumption might be inversely associated with prevalent CAC.
Chocolate; diet; epidemiology; coronary calcium; subclinical disease
The presence and extent of coronary artery calcium (CAC) correlates with the overall magnitude of coronary atherosclerotic plaque burden and with the development of subsequent coronary events. In this study we aim to establish whether age-gender specific percentiles of CAC predict cardiovascular outcomes better than the actual (absolute) CAC score.
MESA is a prospective cohort study of asymptomatic 6814 participants, followed for coronary heart disease (CHD) events including myocardial infarction, angina, resuscitated cardiac arrest, or CHD death. Time to incident CHD was modeled using Cox regression, and we compared models using percentiles based on age, gender and/or race/ethnicity to categories commonly used(0, 1-100, 101-400, 400+ Agatston units).
There were 163(2.4%) incident CHD events (median follow-up 3.75 years). Expressing CAC in terms of age and gender specific percentiles had significantly lower area under the ROC curve(AUC) than using absolute scores (women: AUC 0.73 versus 0.76,p=0.044; men: AUC 0.73 versus 0.77,p<0.001). Akaike’s information criterion (AIC) indicated better model fit using the overall score. Both methods robustly predicted events(>90th percentile associated with a hazard ratio(HR) of 16.4(95% c.i. 9.30,28.9), and score >400 associated with HR of 20.6(95% c.i. 11.8, 36.0). Within groups based on age/gender/race/ethnicity specific percentiles there remains a clear trend of increasing risk across levels of the absolute CAC groups. In contrast, once absolute CAC category is fixed, there is no increasing trend across levels of age/gender/race/ethnicity specific categories. Patients with low absolute scores are low risk, regardless of age-gender-ethnicity percentile rank. Persons with an absolute CAC score of >400 are high risk, regardless of percentile rank.
Using absolute CAC in standard groups performed better than age-gender-ethnicity percentiles in terms of model fit and discrimination. We recommend using cut-points based on the absolute CAC amount and the common CAC cutpoints of 100 and 400 appear to perform well.
prognosis; atherosclerosis; cardiac CT; coronary calcium
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the major cause of death in the United States. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) scores are independent predictors of CHD. African Americans (AA) have higher rates of CHD but are less well-studied in genomic studies. We assembled the largest AA data resource currently available with measured CAC to identify associated genetic variants.
We analyzed log transformed CAC quantity (ln(CAC + 1)), for association with ~2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and performed an inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis on results for 5,823 AA from 8 studies. Heritability was calculated using family studies. The most significant SNPs among AAs were evaluated in European Ancestry (EA) CAC data; conversely, the significance of published SNPs for CAC/CHD in EA was queried within our AA meta-analysis.
Heritability of CAC was lower in AA (~30%) than previously reported for EA (~50%). No SNP reached genome wide significance (p < 5E-08). Of 67 SNPs with p < 1E-05 in AA there was no evidence of association in EA CAC data. Four SNPs in regions previously implicated in CAC/CHD (at 9p21 and PHACTR1) in EA reached nominal significance for CAC in AA, with concordant direction. Among AA, rs16905644 (p = 4.08E-05) had the strongest association in the 9p21 region.
While we observed substantial heritability for CAC in AA, we failed to identify loci for CAC at genome-wide significant levels despite having adequate power to detect alleles with moderate to large effects. Although suggestive signals in AA were apparent at 9p21 and additional CAC and CAD EA loci, overall the data suggest that even larger samples and an ethnic specific focus will be required for GWAS discoveries for CAC in AA populations.
Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery calcium; Genetics; Meta-analysis; African-American
To determine which of the classic modifiable coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors, measured in midlife, are associated with subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in older age.
Participants were 400 community-dwelling middle-aged adults who had no history of CHD at baseline (1972–4) when CHD risk factors were measured, and who were still free of known CHD in 2000–2002.
Coronary artery plaque burden was assessed by coronary artery calcium (CAC) score using computed tomography in 2000–2002.
Ordinal logistic regression analysis was used to compare baseline risk factors with severity of CAC. Mean age was 42 years at baseline and 69 years at the time of CAC assessment; 46.5% were male. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, and all other risk factors, one standard deviation increase in body mass index [OR 1.24 (CI 95% 1.02–1.51) P = 0.03], cholesterol [OR 1.28 (CI 95% 1.03–1.58) P = 0.02], pulse pressure [OR 1.24 (CI 95% 1.03–1.50) P = 0.03], and log triglycerides [OR1.22 (CI 95% 0.99–1.50 P = 0.06] each independently predicted the presence and severity of coronary artery atherosclerosis.
Plaque burden in elderly survivors without clinical heart disease is influenced by modifiable risk factors measured more than 25 years earlier.
coronary artery calcium; midlife risk factors
Data accumulated from mouse studies and in vitro studies of human arteries support the notion that soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) play important roles in the inflammation process involved in atherosclerosis. However, at the population level, the utility of sICAM-1 and MCP-1 as biomarkers for subclinical atherosclerosis is less clear. In the follow-up exam of the NHLBI Family Heart Study, we evaluated whether plasma levels of sICAM-1 and MCP-1 were associated with coronary artery calcification (CAC), a measure of the burden of coronary atherosclerosis.
CAC was measured using the Agatston score with multidetector computed tomography. Information on CAC and MCP-1 was obtained in 2246 whites and 470 African Americans (mean age 55 years) without a history of coronary heart disease (CHD). Information on sICAM-1 was obtained for white participants only.
In whites, after adjustment for age and gender, the odds ratios (ORs) of CAC (CAC > 0) associated with the second, third, fourth, and fifth quintiles of sICAM-1 compared to the first quintile were 1.22 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.91–1.63), 1.15 (0.84–1.58), 1.49 (1.09–2.05), and 1.72 (1.26–2.36) (p = 0.0005 for trend test), respectively. The corresponding ORs for the second to fifth quintiles of MCP-1 were 1.26 (0.92–1.73), 0.99 (0.73–1.34), 1.42 (1.03–1.96), and 2.00 (1.43–2.79) (p < 0.0001 for trend test), respectively. In multivariable analysis that additionally adjusted for other CHD risk factors, the association of CAC with sICAM-1 and MCP-1 was attenuated and no longer statistically significant. In African Americans, the age and gender-adjusted ORs of CAC associated with the second and third tertiles of MCP-1 compared to the first tertile were 1.16 (0.64–2.08) and 1.25 (0.70–2.23) (p = 0.44 for trend test), respectively. This result did not change materially after additional adjustment for other CHD risk factors. Test of race interaction showed that the magnitude of association between MCP-1 and CAC did not differ significantly between African Americans and whites. Similar results were obtained when CAC ≥ 10 was analyzed as an outcome for both MCP-1 and sICAM-1.
This study suggests that sICAM-1 and MCP-1 are biomarkers of coronary atherosclerotic burden and their association with CAC was mainly driven by established CHD risk factors.
Both fatty liver and abdominal visceral fat (VAT) are associated with cardiometabolic risk factors. Whether fatty liver and VAT are jointly associated with coronary artery (CAC) or abdominal aortic (AAC) calcification is not clear.
Jackson Heart Study (JHS) participants (n=2884, mean age 60 years, 65% women) underwent non-contrast CT Exam for assessment of fatty liver, VAT, and CAC and AAC. Fatty liver was measured by liver attenuation (LA; low LA=high fatty liver). The Agatston score was used to quantify the amount of calcified artery plaque and the presence of calcified artery plaque was defined as Agatston score>0. Cross-sectional associations of LA and VAT with CAC and AAC were examined in logistic regression models.
LA (per 1-standard deviation [SD] decrement) was associated inversely with CAC in age-sex-adjusted (OR 0.84, 95%CI 0.7–0.9, p=0.0001) and multivariable adjusted models (OR 0.89, 95%CI 0.8–0.9, p=0.01). The association persisted for LA with CAC when additionally adjusted for body mass index (BMI) (OR 0.89, 95%CI 0.8–0.9, p=0.03) or VAT (OR 0.90, 95%CI 0.8–0.9, p=0.04). Abdominal VAT (per 1-SD increment) was positively associated with CAC in age-sex-adjusted models (OR 1.27, 95%CI 1.2–1.4, p=0.0001), but the association was diminished with multivariable adjustment (OR 1.10, 95%CI 0.9–1.2, p=0.09) and with additional adjustment for LA (p = 0.24) or BMI (p = 0.33). For AAC, the associations with LA and VAT were only present in age-sex-adjusted models. Finally, we did not observe interactions between LA and VAT for CAC (p=0.18) or AAC (p=0.24).
Fatty liver is associated with coronary atherosclerotic calcification independent of abdominal VAT or BMI in African Americans. Further investigations to uncover the clinical implications of fatty liver on coronary atherosclerosis in obesity are warranted.
Elevated coronary artery calcium (CAC) is a marker for increase risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). While the majority of CHD events occur among individuals with advanced CAC, CHD can also occur in individuals with little or no calcified plaque. In this study, we sought to evaluate the characteristics associated with incident CHD events in the setting of minimal (score ≤10) or absent CAC (score of zero).
Asymptomatic participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) (N=6,809), were followed for occurrence of all CHD events (including myocardial infarction(MI), angina, resuscitated cardiac arrest, or CHD death) and hard CHD events (MI or CHD death). Time to incident CHD was modeled using age-and gender-adjusted Cox regression.
The final study population consisted of 3,923 MESA asymptomatic participants (mean age: 58±9years,39% males) had with CAC scores of 0-10. Overall no detectable CAC was seen in 3415 individuals, whereas 508 had CAC scores of 1-10. During follow up (median 4.1 years) there were 16 incident hard events, and 28 all CHD events in individuals with absent or minimal CAC. In age, gender, race and CHD risk factors adjusted analysis, minimal CAC (1-10) was associated with an estimated 3-fold greater risk of a hard CHD event (HR: 3.23, 95% CI: 1.17-8.95), or of all CHD event (HR: 3.66, 95% CI 1.71-7.85) compared to those with CAC=0. Former smoking (HR=3.57; 1.08-11.77), current smoking (HR=4.93; 1.20-20.30), and diabetes (HR=3.09; 1.07-8.93) were significant risk factors for events in those with CAC=0.
Asymptomatic persons with absent or minimal CAC are at very low risk of future cardiovascular events. Individuals with minimal CAC (1-10) were significantly increased to three fold increased risk for incident CHD events relative to those with CAC scores of zero.
Computed Tomography; Prognosis; Coronary Artery Calcification; Atherosclerosis; Coronary Calcium Score; Cardiac Events
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of mortality among people with type 1 diabetes. Diet is an important lifestyle factor related to CHD. The aim of this study was to examine how diet and adherence to dietary guidelines differ between adults with and without type 1 diabetes, and their correlation with CHD risk factors and coronary artery calcium (CAC).
571 people with type 1 diabetes and 696 controls 19 to 56 years old who were asymptomatic for CHD were studied. CAC was measured by electron beam CT.
Adults with type 1 diabetes reported a diet higher in fat, saturated fat, and protein but lower in carbohydrates than controls. Less than half those with type 1 diabetes met dietary guidelines for fat and carbohydrate intake, and only 16% restricted saturated fat to <10% of daily calories. Adults with type 1 diabetes were significantly less likely to meet dietary guidelines than controls. Fat and saturated fat intake were positively correlated but carbohydrate intake was negatively correlated with CHD risk factors and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). A high fat diet and higher protein intake were associated with greater odds of CAC, while higher carbohydrate intake was associated with reduced odds of CAC.
Adults with type 1 diabetes reported consuming higher than recommended fat and saturated fat. Fat intake was associated with increased CHD risk factors, worse glycaemic control, and CAC. An atherogenic diet may contribute to the risk of CHD in adults with type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus; coronary heart disease; dietary intake; fat intake; carbohydrate intake
To examine the effects of unfairness on incident coronary events and health functioning.
Prospective cohort study. Unfairness, sociodemographics, established coronary risk factors (high serum cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption) and other psychosocial work characteristics (job strain, effort–reward imbalance and organisational justice) were measured at baseline. Associations between unfairness and incident coronary events and health functioning were determined over an average follow‐up of 10.9 years.
5726 men and 2572 women from 20 civil service departments in London (the Whitehall II Study).
Main outcome measures
Incident fatal coronary heart disease, non‐fatal myocardial infarction and angina (528 events) and health functioning.
Low employment grade is strongly associated with unfairness. Participants reporting higher levels of unfairness are more likely to experience an incident coronary event (HR 1.55, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.17), after adjustment for age, gender, employment grade, established coronary risk factors and other work‐related psychosocial characteristics. Unfairness is also associated with poor physical (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.77) and mental (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.99) functioning at follow‐up, controlling for all other factors and health functioning at baseline.
Unfairness is an independent predictor of increased coronary events and impaired health functioning. Further research is needed to disentangle the effects of unfairness from other psychosocial constructs and to investigate the societal, relational and biological mechanisms that may underlie its associations with health and heart disease.
Body fat distribution may be differentially associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease. We sought to examine whether body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissue are associated with either prevalence of coronary (CAC) or abdominal aortic calcium (AAC) in the Framingham Heart Study. Participants (n=3130, mean age 52 years, 49% women) free of clinical cardiovascular disease from the Framingham Heart Study underwent multidetector computed tomography assessment for quantification of subcutaneous and visceral fat volume and coronary and abdominal aortic calcification. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) and abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) were examined in relation to BMI, WC, SAT, and VAT in age- sex- and multivariable-adjusted models. All measures of adiposity were associated with CAC in age-sex adjusted models (all p-values<0.008). All relations were attenuated in multivariable models (all p-value>0.14). BMI, WC, and VAT (but not SAT) were associated with abdominal aortic calcification in age- sex-adjusted models (all p-values<0.012). However, all relations were attenuated in multivariable models (all p-values>0.23). Similar findings were observed in quartile-based analyses. In conclusion, general measures of obesity and measures of central abdominal fat are related to CAC and AAC. However, these cross-sectional associations are attenuated by cardiovascular disease risk factors, possibly because they may mediate the association between adiposity measures and subclinical cardiovascular disease.
visceral fat; subcutaneous fat; obesity; calcification; epidemiology; risk factors
Carotid atherosclerosis is a marker for atherosclerotic disease in other vascular beds; however, racial differences in this association have not been fully examined. The purpose of this report is to evaluate racial differences in the relationship between carotid plaque and calcification in the aorta and coronary arteries among women transitioning the menopause.
540 African American and White women with a median age of 50 years were evaluated from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. Carotid plaque (none versus any) was assessed with B-mode ultrasound and aortic (AC; 0, >0–100, >100) and coronary artery calcification (CAC; 0, >0–10, >10) with computed tomography.
For the total cohort, higher prevalence of plaque was significantly associated with higher levels of AC, but not CAC. The interaction of race and carotid plaque was significant in models with AC and CAC as dependent variables (p=0.03, 0.002, respectively). Among African Americans, there was an inverse relationship, although not significant, between carotid plaque and high AC (>100) (OR 0.75, 95%CI: 0.10–5.48), and between plaque and high CAC (>10) (OR 0.20, 95%CI: 0.03–1.52) in fully adjusted models. In contrast, for Whites, significant positive associations existed between carotid plaque and high AC (OR 4.12, 95%CI: 1.29–13.13) and borderline for high CAC (OR 1.83, 95%CI: 0.66–5.19).
This study demonstrated the presence of carotid plaque appeared to be a marker for AC and potentially CAC in White women during the menopause transition, but not African American middle-aged women.
Atherosclerosis; Plaque; Carotid Arteries; Coronary Disease; African Americans and Calcium