Prospective studies have identified chronic inflammation as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, it is not known whether infection by specific pathogens or having a greater “pathogen burden” is associated with diabetes. The aim of this study was to examine the cross-sectional relation of seropositivity to five pathogens (C. pneumoniae, cytomegalovirus, H. pylori, hepatitis A virus, herpes simplex virus) and prevalent diabetes.
Baseline data from a random sample of MultiEthnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants (n=1,000; age: 45-84) were used. Diabetes was defined by ADA 2003 criteria, and “pathogen burden” by the number of pathogens (0–5) for which an individual was seropositive. Logistic regression was used to test differences in diabetes prevalence by seropositivity. Linear regression was used to explore associations between pathogen seropositivity and the inflammation markers CRP, IL-6, and fibrinogen.
Diabetes prevalence was 12.7%, while seropositivity for C. pnuemoniae was 76%, cytomegalovirus 77%, H. pylori 45%, hepatitis A 58%, and herpes simplex virus 85%. 72% were seropositive for ≥3 pathogens. In crude analyses, the prevalence of diabetes was higher among those with a pathogen burden ≥3, and with seropositivity to cytomegalovirus, H. pylori, hepatitis A, and herpes simplex virus. After adjustment for demographic covariates (particularly race) all associations became nonsignificant. Pathogen seropositivity was also not related to inflammation marker levels.
Following demographic adjustments, no associations were observed between infection by several pathogens and diabetes status, suggesting no etiologic role for them in the occurrence of diabetes.
diabetes; infection; pathogen; seropositivity
Systemic inflammation is linked to cardiovascular risk, but the influence of persistent pathogens, which are conventionally dichotomously categorized, on circulating levels of inflammatory markers is not clear. Antibody levels of pathogens have not been examined in relation to inflammation.
Using data from a subsample of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, we examined circulating levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen in relation to five common persistent pathogens: cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus-1, Hepatitis A virus, Helicobacter pylori and Chlamydia pneumoniae. We tested the hypothesis that the number of seropositive pathogens (based on conventional cut-off points) would not be as sensitive a marker of inflammation as immune response measured by antibody levels to pathogens.
High antibody response to multiple pathogens showed graded and significant associations with IL-6 (p < 0.001), CRP (p = 0.04) and fibrinogen (p = 0.001), whereas seropositive pathogen burden did not. In multiple linear regression models, high antibody response to multiple pathogens maintained a positive association only with IL-6 (4.4% per pathogen exhibiting high antibody response, 95% CI 0.0-8.9).
High antibody response to pathogens was a more consistent marker of inflammatory outcomes compared to seropositivity alone and high antibody response to multiple pathogens was a stronger marker compared to any single pathogen.
The biologic mechanisms linking socioeconomic position and psychosocial factors to cardiovascular disease (CVD) are not well understood. Immune response to persistent pathogens may be one of these mechanisms.
We analyzed cross-sectional data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (N=999) composed of adults age 45–84. Log-binomial regression and ordinal logistic regression models were used to examine associations of socioeconomic factors and psychosocial factors with pathogen burden and immune response among those infected. Pathogen burden was assessed based on seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus-1, and Chlamydia pneumoniae and antibody levels were used to characterize high immune response to all four pathogens.
Low education was a strong and significant independent predictor of higher pathogen burden after adjustment for covariates (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.37, 1.19–1.57). Among subjects seropositive for all four pathogens, low education and a higher level of chronic psychosocial stress showed a positive association with higher antibody response, although associations were no longer significant in models with all covariates included (OR = 1.64, 95%CI 0.82–3.31 for lowest vs. highest educational category and OR= 1.29, 95%CI 0.96–1.73 for a one level increase in chronic stress).
Pathogen burden and heightened immune response may represent a biological pathway by which low socioeconomic position and chronic stress are related to increased rates of cardiovascular disease.
Infection; inflammation; epidemiology; cardiovascular diseases
Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs at an earlier age in South Asians compared with other ethnic groups. Infection and inflammation show a positive association with the disease.
To investigate the association of infection and inflammatory markers with premature CAD in the Indian Atherosclerosis Research Study population.
Antibody titres for Chlamydia pneumoniae, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Helicobacter pylori, herpes simplex virus and levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fibrinogen and secretory phospholipase A2, were measured in 866 individuals (433 CAD patients and matched controls). All individuals were followed-up for recurrent cardiac events for four years. ANOVA was used to study the association of infection and inflammation with CAD.
The present study found that the odds of CAD occurrence was 2.42 (95% CI 1.26 to 4.64; P<0.008), with all four infections and increased in the presence of hsCRP (OR 4.67 [95% CI 1.43 to 15.25]); P=0.011). Only anti-CMV antibody levels were a significant risk factor for CAD occurrence (OR 2.23 [95% CI 1.20 to 4.15]; P=0.011) and recurrent cardiac events (OR 1.94 [95% CI 0.85 to 4.45]; P=0.015). Mean values of the inflammatory biomarkers IL-6 (P=0.035), fibrinogen (P=0.014), hsCRP (P=0.010) and secretory phospholipase A2 (P=0.002) increased with CMV antibody levels. Incorporating hsCRP and IL-6 in the risk prediction models significantly increased the OR to 2.56 (95% CI 1.16 to 5.63; P=0.019) with a c statistic of 0.826.
Pathogen burden, especially CMV infection in combination with inflammatory markers, is a significant predictor of CAD risk in the young Indian population.
Coronary artery disease; C-reactive protein; Cytomegalovirus; Inflammatory markers; Pathogen burden
Although cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are increased in rheumatoid arthritis, little is known about the burden of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in these patients.
Using computed tomography, coronary artery calcification was measured in 195 men and women with rheumatoid arthritis aged 45 to 84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease and compared with 1,073 controls without rheumatoid arthritis enrolled in the Baltimore cohort of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
The prevalence of coronary calcification (Agatston score > 0) was significantly higher in men, but not women, with rheumatoid arthritis after adjusting for sociodemographic and cardiovascular risk factors (prevalence ratio = 1.19; P = 0.012). Among participants with prevalent calcification, those with rheumatoid arthritis had adjusted mean Agatston scores 53 units higher than controls (P = 0.002); a difference greater for men than women (P for interaction = 0.017). In all analyses, serum IL-6 attenuated the association between rheumatoid arthritis and coronary calcification, suggesting its role as a potential mediator of enhanced atherosclerosis. Notably, increasing severity of rheumatoid arthritis was associated with a higher prevalence and extent of coronary calcification among both men and women with rheumatoid arthritis, and for all age categories. The largest percentage difference in coronary arterial calcification between rheumatoid arthritis patients and their nonrheumatoid arthritis counterparts was observed in the youngest age category.
Increasing rheumatoid arthritis disease severity was associated with a higher prevalence and greater extent of coronary artery calcification, potentially mediated through an atherogenic effect of chronic systemic inflammation. Gender and age differences in association with coronary calcification suggest that preventive measures should be emphasized in men with rheumatoid arthritis, and considered even in younger rheumatoid arthritis patients with low levels of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
Recent publications have suggested that infective pathogens might play an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. This review focuses on these microorganisms in the process of atherosclerosis. The results of in vitro studies, animal studies, tissue studies, and serological studies will be summarised, followed by an overall conclusion concerning the strength of the association of the microorganism with the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. The role of the bacteria Chlamydia pneumoniae and Helicobacter pylori, and the viruses human immunodeficiency virus, coxsackie B virus, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes simplex virus, and measles virus will be discussed.
Key Words: atherosclerosis • Chlamydia pneumoniae • Helicobacter pylori
The overall burden of prior infections may contribute to atherosclerosis and stroke risk. We hypothesized that serological evidence of common infections would be associated with carotid plaque thickness in a multi-ethnic cohort.
Antibody titers to five common infectious microorganisms (i.e. Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and herpesvirus 1 and 2) were measured among stroke-free community participants, and a weighted index of infectious burden (IB) was calculated based on Cox models previously derived from for the association of each infection with stroke risk. High-resolution carotid duplex Doppler studies were used to assess maximum carotid plaque thickness (MCPT). Weighted least squares regression was used to measure the association between IB and MCPT after adjusting for other risk factors.
Serological results for all five infectious organisms were available in 861 participants with MCPT measurements available (mean age 67.2+/−9.6 yrs). Each individual infection was associated with stroke risk after adjusting for other risk factors. The IB index (n=861) had a mean of 1.00 ± standard deviation 0.35, median 1.08. Plaque was present in 52% of participants (mean 0.90+/−1.04 mm). IB was associated with MCPT (adjusted increase in MCPT 0.09 mm, 95% confidence interval 0.03–0.15 mm, per standard deviation increase of IB).
A quantitative weighted index of infectious burden, derived from the magnitude of association of individual infections with stroke, was associated with carotid plaque thickness in this multi-ethnic cohort. These results lend support to the notion that past or chronic exposure to common infections, perhaps by exacerbating inflammation, contributes to atherosclerosis. Future studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis and to define optimal measures of infectious burden as a vascular risk factor.
The cholesteryl ester transport protein (CETP) plays a key role in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism. Genetic variants that alter CETP activity and concentration may cause significant alterations in HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration; however, controversies remain about whether these genetic variants are associated with atherosclerosis. We genotyped the CETP R451Q, A373P, -629C/A, Taq1B, and -2505C/A polymorphisms in a cohort of Caucasian, Chinese, African-American, and Hispanic individuals within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Genotypes were examined in relationship to HDL-C, CETP activity, CETP concentration, and three measures of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD): coronary artery calcium (CAC) measured by fast CT scanning, and carotid intimal-medial thickness (IMT) and carotid artery plaque, measured by ultrasonography. Carriers of the 451Q and 373P alleles have significantly higher CETP concentration (22.4% and 19.5%, respectively; p<0.001) and activity (13.1% and 9.4%, respectively; p<0.01) and lower HDL-C (5.6% and 6.0%, respectively; p<0.05). The minor alleles of the R451Q and A373P polymorphisms are associated with the presence of CAC, even after adjusting for CVD risk factors and HDL-C (p=0.006 and p=0.01, respectively). The R451Q polymorphism is also associated with presence of carotid artery plaque (p=0.036). Neither polymorphism is associated with common or internal carotid IMT. We confirmed that the -629A, Taq1B B2, and -2505A alleles are significantly associated with lower CETP concentration (20.8%, 25.0%, and 23.7%, respectively; p<0.001) and activity (14.8%, 19.8%, and 18.4%, respectively; p<0.001) and higher HDL-C concentration (9.7%, 11.5%, and 10.4%, respectively; p<0.01). However, we did not find any associations between these non-coding polymorphisms and subclinical CVD.
CETP; CVD; HDL; MESA
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.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
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.
Coronary artery calcium (CAC), carotid intimal medial thickness (cIMT), and reduced ankle brachial indices (ABI) are markers of subclinical vascular disease strongly associated with aging. We identified factors associated with low levels of subclinical vascular disease in 1824 participants ≥70 years in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. 452 had low CAC (<25th percentile), 441 had low cIMT (<25th percentile), 1636 had normal ABI (>0.9), and 165 had a combination index indicating favorable values for all three parameters. This combination index was independently associated with younger age [OR=2.5 per 1 SD (95%CI 1.8–3.6)], female gender [OR=3.0(1.9–4.8)], lower BMI [OR=1.6 per 1 SD (1.2–2.0)], absence of hypertension [OR=1.8(1.2–2.6)], absence of dyslipidemia [OR=1.6 (1.04–2.4)], and never smoking [OR=1.7(1.1–2.6)]. No significant associations were observed for C-reactive protein, education, diet, or physical activity. Favorable levels of multiple traditional risk factors, but not several novel risk factors, were associated with subclinical markers of successful cardiovascular aging.
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.
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.
Metabolic syndrome; biomarkers; coronary artery atherosclerosis; carotid arteries
The pathophysiological mechanisms that underlie health disparities by socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity are poorly understood. Promising new research suggests that the burden of persistent infection may influence adult disease risk and mortality. This article examines how multiple persistent infections cluster within individuals and how this clustering varies by socioeconomic position and race/ethnicity in U.S. adults.
We analyze data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (N = 19,275) for adults aged 17–90 years. The clustering of infections within individuals is studied using tetrachoric correlations. Multiple indicator multiple cause models are used to analyze the infection burden construct as measured by seropositivity to Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus-1, and hepatitis B, focusing on the burden's distribution by socioeconomic position and race/ethnicity. The results are corroborated using ordered logistic regression for a commonly used count index of individual infections.
Seroprevalence of individual persistent infections is positively correlated, suggesting common factors related to exposure or susceptibility. Education, income, and race/ethnicity are strong and significant independent predictors of infection burden in U.S. adults in all models.
The disproportionate burden of persistent infections among disadvantaged groups across all ages may be one biologic pathway by which low socioeconomic position is related to increased rates of morbidity and mortality in the United States.
Socioeconomic; Race; Ethnic; United states; Adults; Infection; Biomarkers
Sex differences in cardiovascular disease mortality are more pronounced among non-Hispanic whites than other racial/ethnic groups, but it is unknown whether this variation is present in the earlier subclinical stages of disease. The authors examined racial/ethnic variation in sex differences in coronary artery calcification (CAC) and carotid intimal media thickness at baseline in 2000–2002 among participants (n = 6,726) in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis using binomial and linear regression. Models adjusted for risk factors in several stages: age, traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, behavioral risk factors, psychosocial factors, and adult socioeconomic position. Women had a lower prevalence of any CAC and smaller amounts of CAC when present than men in all racial/ethnic groups. Sex differences in the prevalence of CAC were more pronounced in non-Hispanic whites than in African Americans and Chinese Americans after adjustment for traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, and further adjustment for behavioral factors, psychosocial factors, and socioeconomic position did not modify these results (for race/sex, Pinteraction = 0.047). Similar patterns were observed for amount of CAC among adults with CAC. Racial/ethnic variation in sex differences for carotid intimal media thickness was less pronounced. In conclusion, coronary artery calcification is differentially patterned by sex across racial/ethnic groups.
calcification, physiologic; continental population groups; coronary vessels; sex; social class
To assess the importance of the obesity epidemic on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, we determined the prevalence of obesity and the relationship of obesity to CVD risk factors and subclinical vascular disease.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis is an observational cohort study involving 6814 persons aged 45 to 84 years who were free of clinical CVD at baseline (2000–2002). The study assessed the association between body size and CVD risk factors, medication use, and subclinical vascular disease (coronary artery calcium, carotid artery intimal medial thickness, and left ventricular mass).
A large proportion of white, African American, and Hispanic participants were overweight (60% to 85%) and obese (30% to 50%), while fewer Chinese American participants were overweight (33%) or obese (5%). Hypertension and diabetes were more prevalent in obese participants despite a much higher use of antihy-pertensive and/or antidiabetic medications. Obesity was associated with a greater risk of coronary artery calcium (17%), internal carotid artery intimal medial thickness greater than 80th percentile (32%), common carotid artery intimal medial thickness greater than 80th percentile (45%), and left ventricular mass greater than 80th percentile (2.7-fold greater) compared with normal body size. These associations persisted after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors.
These data confirm the epidemic of obesity in most but not all racial and ethnic groups. The observed low prevalence of obesity in Chinese American participants indicates that high rates of obesity should not be considered inevitable. These findings may be viewed as indicators of potential future increases in vascular disease burden and health care costs associated with the obesity epidemic.
To evaluate the use of coronary wall MRI as a measure of atherosclerotic disease burden in an asymptomatic population free of clinical cardiovascular disease.
Coronary wall magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive method for evaluation of arterial wall remodeling associated with atherosclerosis.
Materials and Methods
Asymptomatic participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study were studied using black blood MRI. MRI assessed coronary wall thickness was compared to computed tomography calcium score, carotid intimal-medial thickness and risk factors for coronary artery disease.
Eighty eight arterial segments were evaluated in 38 MESA participants (mean age, 61.3 ± 8.7 years). The maximum coronary wall thickness was greater for participants with 2 or more cardiovascular risk factors than for those with 1 or no risk factors (2.59 ± 0.33 mm versus 2.36 ± 0.30 mm, respectively, p=0.05.) For participants with zero calcium score, the mean and maximum coronary wall thickness for subjects with 2 or more risk factors for coronary artery disease were greater than the wall thickness for subjects with 1 or no risk factors (mean thickness: 1.95 ± 0.17 mm versus 1.7 ± 0.19 mm; maximum thickness: 2.67 ± 0.24 mm versus 2.32 ± 0.27 mm, respectively, p <0.05). Subjects with increased carotid intimal-medial thickness also had increased coronary artery wall thickness (p< 0.05).
Coronary artery wall MRI detects increased coronary wall thickness in asymptomatic individuals with subclinical markers of atherosclerotic disease and in individuals with zero calcium score.
coronary artery disease; atherosclerosis; MRI; plaque
Subclinical atherosclerosis (SCA) measures in multiple arterial beds are heritable phenotypes that are associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular disease. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for SCA measurements in the community-based Framingham Heart Study.
Over 100,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped (Human 100K GeneChip, Affymetrix) in 1345 subjects from 310 families. We calculated sex-specific age-adjusted and multivariable-adjusted residuals in subjects tested for quantitative SCA phenotypes, including ankle-brachial index, coronary artery calcification and abdominal aortic calcification using multi-detector computed tomography, and carotid intimal medial thickness (IMT) using carotid ultrasonography. We evaluated associations of these phenotypes with 70,987 autosomal SNPs with minor allele frequency ≥ 0.10, call rate ≥ 80%, and Hardy-Weinberg p-value ≥ 0.001 in samples ranging from 673 to 984 subjects, using linear regression with generalized estimating equations (GEE) methodology and family-based association testing (FBAT). Variance components LOD scores were also calculated.
There was no association result meeting criteria for genome-wide significance, but our methods identified 11 SNPs with p < 10-5 by GEE and five SNPs with p < 10-5 by FBAT for multivariable-adjusted phenotypes. Among the associated variants were SNPs in or near genes that may be considered candidates for further study, such as rs1376877 (GEE p < 0.000001, located in ABI2) for maximum internal carotid artery IMT and rs4814615 (FBAT p = 0.000003, located in PCSK2) for maximum common carotid artery IMT. Modest significant associations were noted with various SCA phenotypes for variants in previously reported atherosclerosis candidate genes, including NOS3 and ESR1. Associations were also noted of a region on chromosome 9p21 with CAC phenotypes that confirm associations with coronary heart disease and CAC in two recently reported genome-wide association studies. In linkage analyses, several regions of genome-wide linkage were noted, confirming previously reported linkage of internal carotid artery IMT on chromosome 12. All GEE, FBAT and linkage results are provided as an open-access results resource at .
The results from this GWAS generate hypotheses regarding several SNPs that may be associated with SCA phenotypes in multiple arterial beds. Given the number of tests conducted, subsequent independent replication in a staged approach is essential to identify genetic variants that may be implicated in atherosclerosis.
We assessed associations of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and -2), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) infection with subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in 291 HIV-infected men in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) was measured by non-contrast coronary CT imaging. Markers for herpesviruses infection were measured in frozen specimens collected 10-12 years prior to case identification. Multivariable logistic regression models and ordinal logistic regression models were performed. HSV-2 seropositivity was associated with coronary atherosclerosis (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] =4.12, 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.58-10.85) after adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, cardiovascular risk factors, and HIV infection related factors. Infection with a greater number of herpesviruses was associated with elevated CAC levels (AOR=1.58, 95% CI=1.06-2.36). Our findings suggest HSV-2 may be a risk factor for subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in HIV-infected men. Infection with multiple herpesviruses may contribute to the increased burden of atherosclerosis.
herpesvirus; HSV-2; atherosclerosis; HIV-1/AIDS; risk factors
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
The metabolic syndrome together with insulin resistance and their consequences are basic factors in pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Chronic infections with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Chlamydia pneumoniae are associated with the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. The infectious aspects of metabolic syndrome have not been investigated.
In a cross-sectional, population-based study, we used National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)-Adult Treatment Panel (ATP)-III criteria in 1791 subjects, aged 25 years and over, selected by cluster random sampling in three Iranian ports in the northern Persian Gulf. Sera were analyzed for IgG antibodies to Chlamydia pneumoniae, HSV-1, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and CMV using ELISA.
In multiple logistic regression analysis, of the infectious agents, CMV [OR = 1.81 (1.05–3.10); p = 0.03], H. pylori [OR = 1.50 (1.12–2.00); p = 0.007] and Chlamydia pneumoniae [OR = 1.69 (1.27–2.25); p < 0.0001] showed a significant association with the metabolic syndrome in men and HSV-1 [OR = 1.95 (1.22–3.11); p = 0.005], H. pylori [OR = 1.45 (1.09–1.94); 0.01] and Chlamydia pneumoniae [OR = 1.65 (1.23–2.21); p = 0.001] in women.
The metabolic syndrome, which occurs very frequently in the general population, has a significant association with prior infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus type 1. Hypothesis about participation of infection in pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome should be investigated.
That infections with certain pathogens, by initiating an inflammatory response, may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis is suggested by clinical and experimental evidence.
To analyse atherosclerotic plaques of the carotid artery, samples of apparently healthy greater saphenous veins and circulating leucocytes from the same individual patients for the presence of Helicobacter pylori and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
Samples from 36 patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy for symptomatic carotid artery stenosis were analysed by polymerase chain reaction for the presence of DNA specific for H pylori and M pneumoniae. IgG antibody titres against H pylori and M pneumoniae and plasma levels of soluble E‐selectin, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule‐1 and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule‐1 were determined.
M pneumoniae‐specific DNA was detected in the atherosclerotic plaques of 13 of 36 (36.1%) patients, in the saphenous veins of 9 of 36 (25%) patients and in the leucocytes of 27 of 36 (75%) patients. No salient association was observed between the presence of M pneumoniae‐specific DNA in leucocytes and atherosclerotic plaques or veins. A marked correlation between the presence of M pneumoniae in the respective specimens and the studied inflammatory markers or the presence of anti‐M pneumoniae antibodies was not observed. H pylori‐specific DNA could not be detected in the specimens tested.
The absence of H pylori and the random distribution of M pneumoniae in tissue samples obtained from patients with symptomatic carotid artery stenosis do not support a role for these pathogens in the development of atherosclerosis due to a direct interaction of the bacteria with the vasculature.
To examine the strength of the associations of fibrinogen with subclinical atherosclerosis in healthy persons.
A population-based, prospective, observational study of black and white men and women (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults [CARDIA]). Fibrinogen levels were measured at year 7 (ages 25–37, n = 2969), and again at year 20 (ages 38–50, n = 2832). Measures of subclinical atherosclerosis (coronary artery calcification [CAC] and carotid intimal-medial thickness [CIMT]) were recorded at year 20.
Over the 13-year study interval (1992–1993 to 2005–2006), fibrinogen rose from a mean of 3.32 to 4.05 g L−1. After adjusting for age, gender and race, fibrinogen was positively associated with greater incidence of CAC and increased CIMT cross-sectionally as well as after 13 years of follow-up (all P-trend < 0.001). After further adjustment for field center, BMI, smoking, education, systolic blood pressure, diabetes, antihypertensive medication use, total and HDL cholesterol, and CRP, significant positive relationships between fibrinogen and incidence of CAC remained for the total cohort longitudinally (P-trend = 0.037), but not cross-sectionally (P-trend = 0.147).
This 13-year study demonstrates that higher levels of fibrinogen during young adulthood are positively associated with incidence of CAC and increased CIMT in middle-age, but the strength of the association declines with increasing age.
atherosclerosis; carotid thickening; coronary calcification; fibrinogen
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.
atherosclerosis; calcification; cardiovascular disease; epidemiology
We hypothesized that individuals with low 10-year but high lifetime cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk would have a greater burden of subclinical atherosclerosis than those with low 10-year but low lifetime risk.
Methods and Results
We included 2988 individuals age ≤50 at exam year 15 from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study and 1076 individuals age ≤50 at study entry from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). The 10-year risk and lifetime risk for CVD were estimated for each participant, permitting stratification into three groups: low 10-year (<10%)/low lifetime (<39%) risk, low 10-year (<10%)/high lifetime risk (≥39%), and high 10-year risk (≥10%) or diagnosed diabetes. Baseline levels and change in levels of subclinical atherosclerosis (coronary artery calcium [CAC] or carotid intima-media thickness [IMT]) were compared across risk strata. Among participants with low 10-year risk (91% of all participants) in CARDIA, those with a high lifetime risk compared to low lifetime risk had significantly greater common (0.83 vs 0.80 mm in men; 0.79 vs 0.75 mm in women) and internal (0.85 vs 0.80 mm; 0.80 vs 0.76 mm) carotid IMT, higher CAC prevalence (16.6 vs 9.8%; 7.1 vs 2.3%), and significantly greater incidence of CAC progression (22.3 vs 15.4%; 8.7 vs 5.3%). Similar results were observed in MESA.
Individuals with low 10-year but high lifetime risk have a greater subclinical disease burden and greater incidence of atherosclerotic progression compared to individuals with low 10-year and low lifetime risk, even at younger ages.
epidemiology; risk estimation; prevention
Racial differences are known to account for a higher incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), as well as increased disease severity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are any race-specific risk factors that affect measures of subclinical atherosclerosis in SLE patients.
Traditional and SLE-related cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors were assessed in 106 female SLE patients. Carotid medial intimal medial thickness (mIMT) and coronary artery calcification (CAC) were measured on all subjects. Differences were evaluated between races for all clinical, serologic, and CVD risk factors and the racial interactions with all covariables. Outcomes included mIMT and CAC.
There were no significant differences between races with regard to mIMT or CAC. Significant covariables in the final model for mIMT included age, triglycerides, glucose, and race-age and race-smoking interactions. A prediction model with fixed significant covariables demonstrated that Black subjects with a smoking history had a significantly higher mIMT than Blacks who had never smoked, an effect not seen in Whites. There were no differences between having CAC or with the CAC scores between the races. In the final model for CAC, age and SLE disease duration were significant covariables impacting CAC.
When controlling for other significant CVD covariables and interactions, Black women, but not White, with SLE with a history of smoking have higher mIMT measurements than those who have never smoked. This is the first report documenting the race-specific effect of smoking on subclinical measures of CVD in SLE.
lupus; cardiovascular; smoking; race