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1.  Tissue factor pathway inhibitor, vascular risk factors and subclinical atherosclerosis: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2009;207(1):277-283.
Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) is an endothelial membrane-associated anticoagulant protein. Higher circulating levels might reflect endothelial damage.
We hypothesized an association of higher total TFPI with subclinical atherosclerosis.
Total TFPI was measured in 1000 participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a cohort of 6814 men and women without clinical vascular disease, aged 45–84, from 4 ethnic groups. Subclinical atherosclerosis measures were coronary artery calcium (CAC), carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and ankle-brachial index (ABI).
TFPI was higher with age, male gender, higher LDL-cholesterol, smoking and diabetes, but not ethnicity. Adjusting for risk factors, TFPI in the 4th versus 1st quartile was associated with a 1.2-fold increased risk of detectable CAC (95% CI 1.0–1.4), a 2.1-fold increased risk of CAC >400 Agatston units (95% CI 1.1–4.0) and a 1.6-fold (95% CI 1.1–2.5) increased risk of internal carotid IMT above the 80th percentile, but not with external carotid IMT or low ABI. Findings were consistent across ethnic groups.
In this diverse population, higher total TFPI was associated with prevalent CAC (limited to levels >400 units), and elevated internal carotid IMT, independent of other factors. Higher TFPI may indicate endothelial dysfunction. Further study is needed of TFPI and progression of atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC2784263  PMID: 19467658
atherosclerosis; coronary heart disease; tissue factor pathway inhibitor; risk factor
2.  Is Diabetic Retinopathy Related to Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease? 
Ophthalmology  2010;118(5):860-865.
Persons with diabetic retinopathy (DR) have an increased risk of clinical cardiovascular events. Our study aimed to determine whether DR is associated with a range of measures of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) in persons without clinical CVD.
Population-based, cross-sectional epidemiologic study
Nine hundred and twenty seven persons with diabetes without clinical CVD in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
DR was ascertained from retinal photographs according to modification of the Airlie House Classification system. Vision threatening DR (VTDR) was defined as severe non-proliferative DR, proliferative DR or clinically significant macular edema. Subclinical CVD measures were assessed and defined as follows: high coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, defined as CAC score≥400; low ankle-brachial index (ABI), defined as ABI<0.9; high ABI, defined as ABI≥1.4; high carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), defined as highest 25% of IMT; and carotid stenosis, defined as >25% stenosis or presence of carotid plaque.
Associations between DR and subclinical CVD measures.
The prevalence of DR and VTDR in this sample was 30.0% and 7.2%, respectively. VTDR was associated with a high CAC score (odds ratio [OR] 2.33, 95% condifence interval [CI] 1.15–4.73), low ABI (OR 2.54; 95%CI, 1.08–5.99) and high ABI (OR 12.6, 95% CI, 1.14, 140.6), after adjusting for risk factors including hemoglobin A1c level and duration of diabetes. The association between VTDR and high CAC score remained significant after further adjustment for hypoglycemic, anti-hypertensive and cholesterol-lowering medications. DR was not significantly associated with measures of carotid artery disease.
In persons with diabetes without a history of clinical CVD, the presence of advanced stage of DR is associated with subclinical coronary artery disease. These findings emphasize the need to be careful about the use of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor for the treatment of DR.
PMCID: PMC3087839  PMID: 21168222
3.  The Associations of Fetuin-A with Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease in Community-Dwelling Persons: the Rancho Bernardo Study 
To determine the association of fetuin-A with subclinical CVD in community-living individuals.
Fetuin-A is a hepatic secretory protein that inhibits arterial calcium deposition in vitro. Lower fetuin-A levels are associated with arterial calcification and death in end-stage renal disease populations. The association of fetuin-A with subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general population is unknown.
Among 1,375 community-living individuals without prevalent clinical CVD, we measured plasma fetuin-A concentrations measured by ELISA. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) was defined by ankle brachial index (ABI) < 0.90, coronary artery calcification (CAC) was measured by computed tomography, and common and internal intima media thickness (cIMT) were measured by carotid ultrasound. PAD was measured concurrent with fetuin-A, and CAC and cIMT was measured 4.6 years (mean) later.
Mean age was 70 ± 11 years and 64% were female. Fetuin-A levels were inversely associated with CAC severity. When evaluated as CAC categories (0, 1–100, 101–300, > 300) using ordinal logistic regression, each standard deviation higher fetuin-A was associated with a 31% lower odds of CAC severity (proportional odds ratio [POR] 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.46, 0.92; p=0.008) in models adjusted for demographics, lifestyle factors, traditional CVD risk factors and kidney function. In contrast, no association of fetuin-A was observed with PAD or high common or internal cIMT in adjusted models.
Lower fetuin-A levels are independently associated with greater CAC severity, but not PAD or cIMT. If confirmed, fetuin-A may mark calcium deposition within the vasculature, but not atherosclerosis per se.
PMCID: PMC3224791  PMID: 22115642
Fetuin-A; Cardiovascular Disease; Coronary Artery Calcification
4.  Association between Obesity, hsCRP ≥2 mg/L, and Subclinical Atherosclerosis: Implications of JUPITER from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels are closely associated with abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The JUPITER trial has encouraged using hsCRP ≥2 mg/L to guide statin therapy; however the association of hsCRP to atherosclerosis, independent of obesity, remains unknown.
Methods and Results
We studied 6,760 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Participants were stratified into 4 groups: non-obese/low hsCRP, non-obese/high hsCRP, obese/low hsCRP, and obese/high hsCRP. Using multivariable logistic and robust linear regression, we described the association with subclinical atherosclerosis, using coronary artery calcium (CAC) and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). Mean BMI was 28.3 ± 5.5 kg/m2, and median hsCRP was 1.9 mg/L (0.84 – 4.26). High hsCRP, in the absence of obesity, was not associated with CAC and was mildly associated with cIMT. Obesity was strongly associated with CAC and cIMT independent of hsCRP. When obesity and high hsCRP were both present, there was no evidence of multiplicative interaction. Similar associations were seen among 2,083 JUPITER-eligible individuals.
High hsCRP, as defined by JUPITER, was not associated with CAC and was mildly associated with cIMT in the absence of obesity. In contrast, obesity was associated with both measures of subclinical atherosclerosis independent of hsCRP status.
PMCID: PMC3130297  PMID: 21474823
obesity; hsCRP; high sensitivity C-reactive protein; subclinical atherosclerosis; coronary artery calcium; carotid intima-media thickness
5.  Abdominal Aortic Calcium and Multi-Site Atherosclerosis: The Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2011;214(2):436-441.
Abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) is a measure of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD). Data are limited regarding its relation to other measures of atherosclerosis.
Among 1,812 subjects (49% female, 21% black, 14% Chinese, and 25% Hispanic) within the population-based Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, we examined the cross-sectional relation of AAC with coronary artery calcium (CAC), ankle brachial index (ABI), and carotid intimal medial thickness (CIMT), as well as multiple measures of subclinical CVD.
AAC prevalence ranged from 34% in those aged 45–54 to 94% in those aged 75–84 (p<0.0001), was highest in Caucasians (79%) and lowest in blacks (62%) (p<0.0001). CAC prevalence, mean maximum CIMT ≥ 1 mm, and ABI<0.9 was greater in those with vs. without AAC: CAC 60% vs 16%, CIMT 38% vs 7%, and ABI 5% vs 1% for women and CAC 80% vs 37%, CIMT 43% vs 16%, and ABI 4% vs 2% for men (p<0.01 for all except p<0.05 for ABI in men). The presence of multi-site atherosclerosis (≥ 3 of the above) ranged from 20% in women and 30% in men (p<0.001), was highest in Caucasians (28%) and lowest in Chinese (16%) and ranged from 5% in those aged 45–54 to 53% in those aged 75–84 (p<0.01 to p<0.001). Finally, increased AAC was associated with 2 to 3-fold relative risks for the presence of increased CIMT, low ABI, or CAC.
AAC is associated with an increased likelihood of other vascular atherosclerosis. Its additive prognostic value to these other measures is of further interest.
PMCID: PMC3040451  PMID: 21035803
atherosclerosis; calcification; cardiovascular disease; epidemiology
6.  Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are not associated with subclinical vascular disease or C-reactive protein in the Old Order Amish 
Calcified tissue international  2009;84(3):195-202.
The relationship between vitamin D metabolites and subclinical vascular disease is controversial. Because low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] have been associated with many cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, we hypothesized that serum 25(OH)D levels would be inversely associated with inflammation as measured by C-reactive protein (CRP) and with subclinical vascular disease as measured by carotid intimal medial thickness (cIMT) and coronary artery calcification (CAC).
We measured 25(OH)D levels in 650 Amish participants. CAC was measured by computed tomography, and cIMT by ultrasound. The associations of 25(OH)D levels with natural log(CAC+1), cIMT, and natural log(CRP) levels were estimated following adjustment for age, sex, family structure, and season of examination. Additional analyses were carried out adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and other CVD risk factors.
25(OH)D deficiency (<20 ng/ml) and insufficiency (21-30 ng/ml) were common among the Amish (38.2% and 47.7%, respectively). 25(OH)D levels were associated with season, age, BMI, and parathyroid hormone levels. In neither the minimally or fully adjusted analyses were significant correlations observed between 25(OH)D levels and CAC, cIMT, or CRP (R2 < 0.01 for all).
Contrary to our hypothesis, this study failed to detect a cross-sectional association between serum 25(OH)D levels and CAC, cIMT, or CRP. Either there is no causal relationship between 25(OH)D and CVD risk, or, if there is, it may be mediated through mechanisms other than subclinical vascular disease severity.
PMCID: PMC2908302  PMID: 19148561
7.  A High Ankle Brachial Index is Associated with Greater Left Ventricular Mass: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Arterial stiffness leads to left ventricular (LV) mass through non-atherosclerotic pathways in mice. In humans, a high ankle brachial index (ABI) indicates stiff peripheral arteries, and is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. Whether high ABI is associated with LV mass in humans, and whether this may reflect consequences of arterial stiffness, atherosclerosis, or both is unknown.
Among 4,972 MESA participants without clinical CVD, we used linear regression to evaluate the association of low (< 0.90) and high (>1.40 or incompressible) ABI with LV mass by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Intermediate ABIs served as the reference category. To determine the effect of subclinical atherosclerosis, models were adjusted for common and internal carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and log-transformed coronary artery calcification (Ln[CAC+1]).
Compared to subjects with intermediate ABI, LV mass was higher with either low (2.70g/m2 higher, 95% CI 0.65–4.75) or high ABI (6.84 g/m2 higher, 95% CI 3.2–10.47) after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors, kidney function, and CRP. However, further adjustment for cIMT and CAC substantially attenuated the association of low ABI with LVMI (1.24 g/m2 higher, 95% CI −0.84–3.33), whereas the association of high ABI was minimally altered (6.01 g/m2 higher, 95% CI 2.36–9.67).
High ABI is associated with greater LV mass; an association that is not attenuated with adjustment for subclinical atherosclerosis in non-peripheral arterial beds. High ABI may lead to greater LV mass through non-atherosclerotic pathways.
PMCID: PMC2837506  PMID: 20117440
vascular stiffness; medial arterial calcification; left ventricular mass; heart failure; cardiovascular disease
8.  Clinical and Subclinical Macrovascular Disease as Predictors of Cognitive Decline in Older Patients With Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(9):2779-2786.
Macrovascular disease may contribute to increased risk of accelerated cognitive decline in patients with type 2 diabetes. We aimed to determine associations of measures of macrovascular disease with cognitive change in a cognitively healthy older population with type 2 diabetes.
Eight hundred thirty-one men and women (aged 60–75 years) attended two waves of the prospective Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study (ET2DS). At baseline, clinical and subclinical macrovascular disease was measured, including cardiovascular event history, carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), ankle brachial index (ABI), and serum N-terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP). Seven neuropsychological tests were administered at baseline and after 4 years; scores were combined to a standardized general ability factor (g). Adjustment of follow-up g for baseline g assessed 4-year cognitive change. Adjustment for vocabulary (estimated premorbid ability) was used to estimate lifetime cognitive change.
Measures of cognitive decline were significantly associated with stroke, NT-proBNP, ABI, and cIMT, but not with nonstroke vascular events. The association of stroke with increased estimated lifetime cognitive decline (standardized β, −0.12) and of subclinical markers with actual 4-year decline (standardized β, −0.12, 0.12, and −0.15 for NT-proBNP, ABI, and cIMT, respectively) reached the Bonferroni-adjusted level of statistical significance (P < 0.006). Results altered only slightly on adjustment for vascular risk factors.
Stroke and subclinical markers of cardiac stress and generalized atherosclerosis are associated with cognitive decline in older patients with type 2 diabetes. Further investigation into the potential use of subclinical vascular disease markers in predicting cognitive decline is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3747922  PMID: 23579182
9.  Relationship between Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Left Ventricular Mass in Type 1 Diabetes: results from the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) Study 
The American journal of cardiology  2012;110(10):1534-1540.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is associated with early atherosclerosis and enhanced cardiovascular mortality. The relationship between carotid IMT (cIMT), a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis and left ventricular (LV) mass, an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity has not been previously studied in type 1 diabetics.
The Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study is a multicenter observational study designed to follow up the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) cohort. LV mass was measured with cardiac MRI at EDIC year 15 and common cIMT was assessed using B-mode ultrasound at EDIC year 12. Multivariable linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between cIMT at year 12 and LV mass at year 15.
A total of 889 participants had both cardiac MRI and cIMT measures available for these analyses. At EDIC year 15, the mean age of the participants was 49 (±7) years; mean diabetes duration was 28 (±5) years and 52% were males. Spearman correlation coefficient (r) between LV mass and cIMT was 0.33 (p<0.0001). After adjusting for basic covariates (machine, reader, age and gender), a significant association between LV mass and cIMT (estimate 2.0 g/m2 per 0.1 mm cIMT increment, p < 0.0001) was observed. This association was diminished by the addition of systolic blood pressure in particular 1.15 g/m2 per 0.1 mm cIMT increment, p<0.0001) and to a lessor extent other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. The relationship observed between LV mass and cIMT was stronger (HOW MUCH) in patients with shorter diabetes duration.
In a well characterized population with type 1 diabetes, cIMT was an independent predictor of higher LV mass. These findings suggest a common pathway, possibly mediated by blood pressure dependent mechanisms, for vascular and myocardial structural change in T1DM.
PMCID: PMC3488435  PMID: 22884107
10.  Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Plasma Asymmetric Dimethylarginine in Mexican Children Exposed to Inorganic Arsenic 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2013;121(9):1090-1096.
Background: Arsenic exposure is a risk factor for atherosclerosis in adults, but there is little information on arsenic and early risk biomarkers for atherosclerosis in children. Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is an indicator of subclinical atherosclerotic burden that has been associated with plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), a predictor of cardiovascular disease risk.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate associations of arsenic exposure with cIMT, ADMA, and endothelial adhesion molecules [soluble intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1); soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1)] in children who had been exposed to environmental inorganic arsenic (iAs).
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study in 199 children 3–14 years of age who were residents of Zimapan, México. We evaluated cIMT using ultrasonography, and plasma lipid profiles by standard methods. We analyzed ADMA, sICAM-1, and sVCAM-1 by ELISA, and measured the concentrations of total speciated arsenic (tAs) in urine using hydride generation cryotrapping atomic absorption spectrometry.
Results: In the multiple linear regression model for cIMT, tAs categories were positively associated with cIMT increase. The estimated cIMT diameter was greater in 35- to 70-ng/mL and > 70-ng/mL groups (0.035 mm and 0.058 mm per 1-ng/mL increase in urinary tAs, respectively), compared with the < 35-ng/mL group. In addition to tAs level, plasma ADMA was a significant predictor of cIMT. In the adjusted regression model, cIMT, percent iAs, and plasma sVCAM-1 were significant predictors of ADMA levels (e.g., 0.419-μmol/L increase in ADMA per 1-mm increase in cIMT).
Conclusions: Arsenic exposure and plasma ADMA levels were positively associated with cIMT in a population of Mexican children with environmental arsenic exposure through drinking water.
Citation: Osorio-Yáñez C, Ayllon-Vergara JC, Aguilar-Madrid G, Arreola-Mendoza L, Hernández-Castellanos E, Barrera-Hernández A, De Vizcaya-Ruíz A, Del Razo LM. 2013. Carotid intima-media thickness and plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine in Mexican children exposed to inorganic arsenic. Environ Health Perspect 121:1090–1096;
PMCID: PMC3764073  PMID: 23757599
11.  Racial differences in the burden of coronary artery calcium and carotid intima media thickness between Blacks and Whites 
Netherlands Heart Journal  2014;23(1):44-51.
Identification of racial differences in the burden and correlates of carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) and coronary artery calcium (CAC) may provide the basis for the development of race-specific cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction algorithms.
In the Heart Strategies Concentrating on Risk Evaluation (Heart SCORE) study, CIMT was measured by carotid ultrasonography in 792 individuals (35 % Black). CIMT >1 mm was considered significant. CAC was quantified by electron beam computed tomography in 776 individuals (46 % Black). CAC was considered significant if the Agatston score was >100. Cross-sectional associations between race, CIMT and CAC were assessed using logistic regression models.
Blacks had greater CIMT (mean difference 0.033 mm, 95 % CI 0.005–0.06 mm; p = 0.02) and 1.5-fold (95 % CI 1.0–2.3) higher odds of having significant CIMT than Whites. Blacks had less CAC than Whites (mean Agatston score difference 66, [11–122]; p = 0.02) and 50 % lower odds of a significant CAC score compared with Whites (0.5 [0.3–0.7]). These associations were virtually unchanged after adjustment for CVD risk factors. Of the novel CVD risk markers assessed, small-dense low-density lipoprotein was independently associated with increased odds of significant CIMT, with the association being similar among Blacks and Whites (odds ratio [95 % CI]: 1.7 [1.2–2.5] and 1.4 [1.0–1.8] per 1-SD higher level, respectively). Interleukin-6 was significantly associated with CAC among Blacks (1.4 [1.0–2.0]).
Black race is independently associated with greater CIMT but less CAC than White race. CVD risk stratification strategies that incorporate these measures of subclinical atherosclerosis should consider race-specific algorithms.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12471-014-0610-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4268220  PMID: 25342280
Carotid intima media thickness; Coronary artery calcium; Subclinical atherosclerosis; Racial-disparity; Risk factor; Observational study
12.  Intakes of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and fish in relation to measurements of subclinical atherosclerosis 
Data on the relations of different types of fish meals and long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) with measures of atherosclerosis are sparse.
We examined intakes of long-chain n-3 PUFAs and fish in relation to clinical measures of subclinical atherosclerosis.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 5,488 multiethnic adults aged 45–84 years and free of clinical cardiovascular disease. Diet was assessed using self-administered food frequency questionnaires. Subclinical atherosclerosis was determined by common carotid intima-media thickness (cCIMT, >80th percentile), internal CIMT (iCIMT, >80th percentile), coronary artery calcium score (CAC, >0) or ankle-brachial index (ABI, <0.90), respectively.
After adjustment for potential confounders, intakes of long-chain n-3 PUFAs and non-fried (broiled, steamed, baked or raw) fish were inversely related to subclinical atherosclerosis determined by cCIMT but not iCIMT, CAC or ABI. The multivariable odds ratio comparing the highest to the lowest quartile of dietary exposures in relation to subclinical atherosclerosis determined by cCIMT was 0.69 (95% CI: 0.55, 0.86; p for trend<0.01) for n-3 PUFA intake, 0.80 (95% CI: 0.64, 1.01; p=0.054) for non-fried fish and 0.90 (95% CI: 0.73, 1.10; p=0.33) for fried fish consumption.
This study indicates that dietary intake of long-chain n-3 PUFAs or non-fried fish is associated with lower prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis classified by cCIMT although significant changes in iCIMT, CAC and ABI were not observed. Our findings also suggest that the association of fish and atherosclerosis may vary depending on the type of fish meal consumed and the measures of atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4151325  PMID: 18842801
long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; fish; fish oil; biomarker; subclinical atherosclerosis; multi-ethnicities
13.  Examining the association between salivary cortisol levels and subclinical measures of atherosclerosis: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2012;38(7):1036-1046.
To investigate the association between salivary cortisol and two markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary calcification (CAC), and ankle-brachial index (ABI).
Data from an ancillary study to the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), the MESA Stress Study, were used to analyze associations of salivary cortisol data collected six times per day over three days with CAC and ABI. The authors used mixed models with repeat cortisol measures nested within persons to determine if specific features of the cortisol profile were associated with CAC and ABI.
total of 464 participants were included in the CAC analysis and 610 in the ABI analysis. The mean age of participants was 65.6 years. A 1-unit increase in log coronary calcium was associated with a 1.77% flatter early decline in cortisol (95% CI: 0.23, 3.34) among men and women combined. Among women low ABI was associated with a steeper early decline (−13.95% CI:−25.58, −3.39) and a marginally statistically significant flatter late decline (1.39% CI: −0.009, 2.81). The cortisol area under the curve and wake to bedtime slope were not associated with subclinical CVD.
This study provides weak support for the link between cortisol and measures of subclinical atherosclerosis. We found an association between some features of the diurnal cortisol profile and coronary calcification and ABI but associations were not consistent across subclinical measures. There are methodological challenges in detecting associations of cortisol measures at a point in time with health outcomes that develop over a lifetime. Studies of short-term mechanisms linking stress to physiological processes related to the development of early atherosclerosis may be more informative.
PMCID: PMC4020284  PMID: 23146655
salivary cortisol; ankle brachial index; coronary calcification; atherosclerosis; stress; cortisol awakening response; cortisol diurnal pattern; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
14.  Impact of hypertension on various markers of subclinical atherosclerosis in early type 2 diabetes 
Presence of Diabetes Mellitus increases the risk of subclinical atherosclerosis. In this study was aimed to determine the influence of hypertension (HTN) on surrogate markers of atherosclerosis in a population of patients with early type 2 diabetes.
125 diabetic subjects drawn from Dr. Shariati outpatient’s clinic list and 153 non- diabetic subjects who were the relatives in law of diabetic participants were recruited. Participants with type 2 diabetes were free of clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease and renal involvement. Two groups of diabetic and control were further divided into two subgroups of hypertensive (known case of HTN or blood pressure ≥140/90 mmHg) and normotensive, and anthropometric characteristics, metabolic biomarkers as well as markers of subclinical atherosclerosis including Carotid intima media thickness (CIMT), flow mediated dilation (FMD) and Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) were measured.
Diabetic group with a mean age of 49.9 ± 7.5 years had significantly higher CIMT (0.64 ± 0.14 vs 0.76 ± 0.19, p = 0.001) and lower FMD (16.5 ± 8.1 vs 13.3 ± 7.1, p = 0.003) and ABI (1.2 ± 0.1 vs 1.1 ± 0.1, p = 0.01) than control with mean age of 52.9 ± 10.1 years. 34% of control and 59.2% of diabetic were hypertensive. Fasting blood sugar, insulin levels and calculated insulin resistance index of HOMA IR. of hypertensive subjects were higher than normotensive subjects in both groups of diabetic and non-diabetic. Similar pattern was presented for measured inflammatory mediators of hs-CRP and IL-6. Among subclinical atherosclerosis markers, only CIMT was significantly different between hypertensive and normotensive subjects in both groups. In adjusted linear regression analysis, a constant significant association existed between age and CIMT, ABI and FMD in non-diabetic, while in diabetic, age only correlated with CIMT and not the other two markers. In multiple regression model, HTN was recognized as a risk factor for increasing CIMT (OR = 2.93, 95% CI = 1.03-8.33, p = 0.04) but not attenuating FMD or ABI.
Since FMD and CIMT may measure a different stage of subclinical atherosclerosis in diabetic patients, influence of HTN on these markers might be different.
PMCID: PMC3933380  PMID: 24476202
Diabetes melitus; Subclinical atherosclerosis; CIMT; FMD; ABI; Hypertension
15.  Associations of SNPs in ADIPOQ and subclinical cardiovascular disease in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2010;19(4):840-847.
Circulating adiponectin has been associated with both clinical and subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD). Variants of the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ) are associated with clinical CVD, but little is known about associations with subclinical CVD. We studied the association of 11 ADIPOQ SNPs with common and internal carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), presence of coronary artery calcification (CAC), and CAC scores (in those with CAC) in 2847 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Participants were Caucasian (n=712), African-American (n=712), Chinese (n=718), and Hispanic (n=705). All models were adjusted for age, sex, and field site, and stratified by race/ethnic group. African-Americans with genotypes AG/GG of rs2241767 had 36% greater (95% CI (16%, 59%), p=0.0001) CAC prevalence; they also had a larger common cIMT (p=0.0043). Also in African-Americans, genotypes AG/AA of rs1063537 were associated with a 35% (95% CI (14%, 59%), p=0.0005) greater CAC prevalence. Hispanics with the AA genotype of rs11711353 had a 37% (95% CI (14%, 66%), p=0.0011), greater CAC prevalence compared to those with the GG genotype. Additional adjustment for ancestry in African-American and Hispanic participants did not change the results. No single SNP was associated with subclinical CVD phenotypes in Chinese or Caucasian participants. There appears to be an association between ADIPOQ SNPs and subclinical CVD in African-American and Hispanics. Replication as well as assessment of other ADIPOQ SNPs appears warranted.
PMCID: PMC3510267  PMID: 20930713
16.  Coronary Artery Calcification Compared with Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Prediction of Cardiovascular Disease Incidence: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Archives of internal medicine  2008;168(12):1333-1339.
Coronary artery calcium (CAC) and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) are noninvasive measures of atherosclerosis that consensus panels have recommended as possible additions to risk factor assessment for predicting the probability of cardiovascular disease (CVD) occurrence.
To assess whether maximum carotid IMT or CAC (Agatston Score) is the better predictor of incident CVD.
Design, Setting, Patients
Prospective cohort study of 45–84 year-olds initially free of CVD (n = 6,698) in four ethnic groups, with standardized carotid IMT and CAC measures at baseline, in six field centers of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Incident CVD events (coronary heart disease, stroke, and fatal CVD) over a maximum of 5.3 years of follow-up.
There were 222 CVD events during follow-up. CAC was associated more strongly than carotid IMT with risk of incident CVD. After adjustment for each other and traditional CVD risk factors, the hazard of CVD increased 2.1-fold (95% CI 1.8–2.5) for each standard deviation greater level of log-transformed CAC, versus 1.3-fold (95% CI 1.1–1.4) for each standard deviation greater maximum IMT. For coronary heart disease, the hazard ratios per standard deviation increment were 2.5-fold (95% CI 2.1–3.1) for CAC and 1.2-fold (95% CI 1.0–1.4) for IMT. An ROC analysis also suggested that CAC predicted incident CVD better than IMT did.
Although whether and how to clinically use bio-imaging tests of subclinical atherosclerosis remains a topic of debate, this study found that CAC predicts subsequent CVD events better than does carotid IMT.
PMCID: PMC2555989  PMID: 18574091
17.  Associations between markers of subclinical atherosclerosis and dietary patterns derived by principal components analysis and reduced rank regression in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)1–3 
The association between diet and cardiovascular disease (CVD) may be mediated partly through inflammatory processes and reflected by markers of subclinical atherosclerosis.
We investigated whether empirically derived dietary patterns are associated with coronary artery calcium (CAC) and common and internal carotid artery intima media thickness (IMT) and whether prior information about inflammatory processes would increase the strength of the associations.
At baseline, dietary patterns were derived with the use of a food-frequency questionnaire, and inflammatory biomarkers, CAC, and IMT were measured in 5089 participants aged 45–84 y, who had no clinical CVD or diabetes, in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Dietary patterns based on variations in C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, homocysteine, and fibrinogen concentrations were created with reduced rank regression (RRR). Dietary patterns based on variations in food group intake were created with principal components analysis (PCA).
The primary RRR(RRR 1) and PCA(PCA factor 1) dietary patterns were high in total and saturated fat and low in fiber and micronutrients. However, the food sources of these nutrients differed between the dietary patterns. RRR 1 was positively associated with CAC [Agatston score >0: OR(95% CI) for quartile 5 compared with quartile 1 = 1.34 (1.05, 1.71); ln(Agatston score = 1): P for trend = 0.023] and with common carotid IMT [≥1.0 mm: OR (95% CI) for quartile 5 compared with quartile 1 = 1.33 (0.99, 1.79); ln(common carotid IMT): P for trend = 0.006]. PCA 1 was not associated with CAC or IMT.
The results suggest that subtle differences in dietary pattern composition, realized by incorporating measures of inflammatory processes, affect associations with markers of subclinical atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC2858465  PMID: 17556701
Dietary patterns; principal components analysis; reduced rank regression; carotid artery intima media thickness; coronary artery calcium
18.  Comparison of Novel Risk Markers for Improvement in Cardiovascular Risk Assessment in Intermediate Risk Individuals. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Risk markers including coronary artery calcium (CAC), carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), ankle-brachial Index (ABI), brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD), high sensitivity C -reactive protein (hs-CRP) and family history (FH) of coronary heart disease (CHD) have been reported to improve on the Framingham risk score (FRS) for prediction of CHD. However, there are no direct comparisons of these markers for risk prediction in a single cohort.
We compared improvement in prediction of incident CHD/cardiovascular disease (CVD) of these 6 risk markers within intermediate risk participants (5 % < FRS < 20%) in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Design, Setting and Participants
Of 6814 MESA participants from 6 US field centers, 1330 were intermediate risk, without diabetes mellitus, and had complete data on all 6 markers. Recruitment spanned July 2000 to September 2002; follow-up extended through May 2011. Probability- weighted Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR). Area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) and net reclassification improvement (NRI) were used to compare incremental contributions of each marker when added to the FRS + race/ethnicity.
Main Outcome Measures
Incident CHD defined as MI, angina followed by revascularization, resuscitated cardiac arrest or CHD death. Incident CVD additionally included stroke or CVD death.
After median follow-up of 7.6 years (IQR 7.3 – 7.8 years), 94 CHD and 123 CVD events occurred. CAC, ABI, hs-CRP and FH were independently associated with incident CHD in multivariable analyses [HR (95%CI: 2.60(1.94-3.50), 0.79(0.66-0.95), 1.28(1.00-1.64) and 2.18(1.38-3.42) respectively]. CIMT and FMD were not associated with incident CHD in multivariable analyses [HR (95%CI) 1.17(0.95- 1.45) and 0.95(0.78 −1.14) respectively]. Although the addition of the markers individually to the FRS +race/ethnicity improved the AUC, CAC afforded the highest increment (0.623 vs. 0.784) while FMD afforded the least [0.623 vs. 0.639]. For incident CHD, the NRI with CAC was 0.659, FMD 0.024, ABI 0.036, CIMT 0.102, FH 0.160 and hs-CRP 0.079. Similar results were obtained for incident CVD.
CAC, ABI, hs-CRP and FH are independent predictors of incident CHD/CVD in intermediate risk individuals. CAC provides superior discrimination and risk reclassification compared with other risk markers.
PMCID: PMC4141475  PMID: 22910756
19.  Associations of Work Hours with Carotid Intima Media Thickness and Ankle-Brachial Index: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Long working hours may be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). The objective was to investigate cross-sectional associations of work hours with carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) and ankle brachial index (ABI).
Participants were 1,694 women and 1,868 men from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. CIMT and ABI were measured using standard protocols. Information on work hours was obtained from questionnaires. Mean values of CIMT and ABI were examined across five categories of hours worked per week (≤20, 21-39, 40, 41-50, >50) using ANOVA/ANCOVA. P-values for trend were obtained from linear regression models.
Mean age of participants was 56.9±8.4 years; 52.4% were men. Distinct patterns of association between work hours and the subclinical CVD biomarkers were found for women and men, although this heterogeneity by gender was not statistically significant. Among women only, work hours were positively associated with common (but not internal) CIMT (p=0.073) after full risk factor adjustment. Compared to women working 40 hours, those working >50 hours were more likely to have an ABI <1 (vs. 1-1.4) (OR=1.85, 95% CI=1.01-3.38). In men, work hours and ABI were inversely associated (p=0.046). There was some evidence that the association between work hours and ABI was modified by occupational category (interaction p=0.061). Among persons classified as Management/Professionals, longer work hours was associated with lower ABI (p=0.015). No significant associations were observed among other occupational groups.
Working longer hours may be associated with subclinical CVD. These associations should be investigated using longitudinal studies.
PMCID: PMC4084707  PMID: 22767870
Atherosclerosis; carotid artery stenosis; ankle-brachial index; work
20.  The Association Between A1C and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease 
Diabetes Care  2009;32(9):1727-1733.
To test the hypothesis that A1C is associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a population without evident diabetes, after adjusting for traditional CVD risk factors and BMI.
This was a cross-sectional study of 5,121 participants without clinically evident CVD or diabetes (fasting glucose ≥7.0 mmol/l or use of diabetes medication), aged 47–86 years, enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Measurements included carotid intimal-medial wall thickness (CIMT) and coronary artery calcification (CAC). Results were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, antihypertensive medication use, lipid-lowering medication use, and BMI.
Compared with those in the lowest quartile for A1C ([mean ± SD] 5.0 ± 0.2%), participants in the highest quartile (6.0 ± 0.3%) had higher adjusted mean values for common CIMT (0.85 vs. 0.87 mm, P = 0.003) and internal CIMT (1.01 vs. 1.08 mm, P = 0.003). A1C quartile was not associated with prevalence of CAC in the entire cohort (P = 0.27); however, the association was statistically significant in women (adjusted prevalence of CAC in lowest and highest A1C quartiles 37.5 vs. 43.0%, P = 0.01). Among those with some CAC, higher A1C quartile tended to be associated with higher CAC score, but the results were not statistically significant (adjusted P = 0.11).
In this multiethnic cohort, there were small, positive associations between A1C, common CIMT, and internal CIMT in the absence of clinically evident diabetes. An association between higher A1C and CAC prevalence was evident only in women.
PMCID: PMC2732160  PMID: 19549732
21.  Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Coronary Artery Calcium Score as Indications of Subclinical Atherosclerosis 
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2009;84(3):229-233.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the ability of carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and coronary artery calcium score (CACS) to detect subclinical atherosclerosis in a young to middle-aged, low-risk, primary-prevention population.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients aged 36 to 59 years who underwent determination of CIMT and CACS at our institution between May 1, 2004, and April 1, 2008, were included in the study. Those with diabetes mellitus or a history of coronary, peripheral, or cerebral vascular disease were excluded. Other information, such as Framingham risk score (FRS), was obtained by a review of clinical and laboratory data.
RESULTS: Of 118 patients, 89 (75%) had a CACS of zero and 94 (80%) were men; mean ± SD age was 48.9±5.7 years. The mean FRS of this group was 4.0; 86 patients (97%) were considered at low risk (<1% annualized rate) of cardiovascular events. Evidence of carotid atherosclerosis was found in 42 (47%; 95% confidence interval, 37%-58%) of these 89 patients; carotid plaque was found in 30 (34%); and CIMT above the 75th percentile was found in 12 (13%) of age-, sex-, and race-matched control patients. Of the 40 patients with low-risk CIMT (below the 50th percentile), 4 (10%) had a CACS at or above the 50th percentile.
CONCLUSION: Subclinical vascular disease can be detected by CIMT evaluation in young to middle-aged patients with a low FRS and a CACS of zero. These findings have important implications for vascular disease screening and the implementation of primary-prevention strategies.
Subclinical vascular disease can be detected by carotid intima-media thickness evaluation in young to middle-aged patients with a low Framingham risk score and a coronary artery calcium score of zero; these findings have important implications for vascular disease screening and the implementation of primary-prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC2664607  PMID: 19252109
22.  Associations of antiretroviral drug use and HIV-specific risk factors with carotid intima–media thickness 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(14):2201-2209.
Previous research has demonstrated an increase in carotid intima–media thickness (cIMT) in HIV-infected individuals compared to controls. However, the reason for this increased level of subclinical vascular disease is unknown.
To identify HIV-related risk factors for increased cIMT.
We evaluated the relationship between HIV-related characteristics (including markers of HIV disease severity and use of antiretroviral therapy) and cIMT measurements in the internal/bulb and common carotid regions among 538 HIV-infected participants from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM). We used Bayesian model averaging to estimate the posterior probability of candidate HIV and non-HIV-related risk factors being true predictors of increased cIMT. Variables with a posterior probability of more than 50% were used to develop a selected regression model for each of the anatomic regions.
For common cIMT, the Bayesian model selection process identified age, African-American race, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure with probability more than 95%, HDL cholesterol with probability 85% and Hispanic ethnicity with probability 51%. Among the HIV-related factors included in the analysis, only tenofovir use was selected (51% probability). In the selected model, duration of tenofovir use was associated with lower common cIMT (−0.0094 mm/year of use; 95% confidence interval: −0.0177 to −0.0010). For internal cIMT, no HIV-related risk factors were above the 50% posterior probability threshold.
We observed an inverse association between duration of tenofovir use and common carotid cIMT. Whether this association is causal or due to confounding by indication needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3224487  PMID: 20671544
atherosclerosis; carotid intima–media thickness; HIV; tenofovir
23.  Association of Endothelial and Oxidative Stress with Metabolic Syndrome and Subclinical Atherosclerosis: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
A cluster of metabolic abnormalities termed metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with vascular endothelial dysfunction and oxidative internal milieu. We examined whether the association of MetS with subclinical atherosclerosis is explained by biomarkers of endothelial damage and oxidative stress.
MESA is a population based study of 45-84 year old individuals of four US ethnicities without clinical cardiovascular disease. A random sample of 997 MESA participants had data on the following biomarkers: von Willebrand Factor, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM1), CD40 ligand, soluble thrombomodulin, E-selectin, and oxidized LDL (oxLDL). We examined whether the associations of MetS with B-mode ultrasound-defined common and internal carotid intimal medial thickness (IMT) and coronary artery calcium (CAC) measured using computerized tomography were explained by the biomarkers using multiple regression methods.
MetS was associated with higher levels of each of the biomarkers (p<0.001, CD40L suggestive association p=0.004), with greater IMT (p<0.001), and with greater extent of CAC in those in whom CAC was detectable (p=0.01). The association of MetS with measures of subclinical atherosclerosis remained unchanged after adjustment for the biomarkers. After adjusting for MetS, oxLDL was suggestively associated with greater prevalence of detectable CAC (p=0.005) and thicker internal carotid IMT (p=0.002), while sICAM-1was significantly associated with greater prevalence of detectable CAC (p=0.001).
The association of MetS with subclinical atherosclerosis was independent of its association with biomarkers of endothelial damage and oxidative stress, suggesting that metabolic abnormalities and oxidative endothelial damage may lead to atherosclerotic disease through distinct mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3130805  PMID: 21505504
Metabolic syndrome; biomarkers; coronary artery atherosclerosis; carotid arteries
24.  The Association Between Physical Activity and Subclinical Atherosclerosis 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2008;169(4):444-454.
Prior reports regarding the association between physical activity and subclinical cardiovascular disease have not been consistent. The authors assessed physical activity and walking pace via questionnaire among 6,482 US adults aged 45–84 years without prior clinical cardiovascular disease participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis from 2000 to 2002. Ankle-brachial index (ABI), coronary artery calcification, and internal and common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) were measured. Metabolic equivalent-hours/week of physical activity were calculated. These data were analyzed by using multivariable linear or relative prevalence regression in gender-specific strata. After adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, clinic site, education, income, and smoking (model 1), increasing total, moderate + vigorous, and intentional-exercise physical activity were not associated with IMT or coronary artery calcification in either gender. These factors were associated with increased ABI (P < 0.05) in women only. Walking pace was associated favorably with common carotid IMT, ABI, and coronary artery calcification in men and with common carotid IMT and ABI in women (all P < 0.05) after adjustment for model 1 variables. These associations were attenuated and, for common carotid IMT, no longer significant when lipids, hypertension, diabetes, and body mass index were added to the model. These data suggest that walking pace is associated with less subclinical atherosclerosis; these associations may be mediated by cardiovascular disease risk factors.
PMCID: PMC2726643  PMID: 19075250
atherosclerosis; carotid arteries; coronary vessels; exercise; motor activity; peripheral vascular diseases
25.  Normative values and correlates of carotid artery intima-media thickness and carotid atherosclerosis in Andean-Hispanics: The PREVENCION Study 
Atherosclerosis  2010;211(2):499-505.
Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk. Furthermore, ethnicity and gender-specific normative data are required to assess cIMT, which are not available for Andean-Hispanics. In addition, data regarding correlates of subclinical atherosclerosis in ethnic population are needed.
We studied 1448 adults enrolled in a population-based study in Peru. cIMT and carotid plaque were measured with high-resolution ultrasonography. A healthy reference sample (n=472) with no cardiovascular disease, normal weight and normal metabolic parameters was selected to establish normative cIMT values. Correlates of abnormal cIMT and carotid plaque were assessed in the entire population.
In the reference sample, 95th-percentile cIMT values were both age and gender-dependent. In stepwise regression, selected predictors of increasing cIMT were: older age, impaired fasting glucose, diabetes mellitus, higher systolic blood pressure, higher LDL-cholesterol, smoking and male gender. Predictors of carotid plaque included older age, male gender, higher systolic blood pressure, lower diastolic blood pressure and higher LDL-cholesterol. HDL-cholesterol and C-reactive protein were not associated with cIMT or carotid plaque. The lack of association with HDL-cholesterol was confirmed using high performance liquid chromatography.
We present ethnic-specific cutoffs for abnormal cIMT applicable to Andean-Hispanics and correlates of subclinical atherosclerosis in this population. Pending longitudinal studies, our data supports several risk associations seen in other populations and can be used to identify Andean-Hispanics at increased risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The lack of association between HDL-C and cIMT or carotid plaque in this population requires further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2928715  PMID: 20510418
carotid intima-media thickness; Andean-Hispanics; definitions; cardiovascular disease; Latin America

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