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1.  Carotid intima media thickness is associated with body fat abnormalities in HIV-infected patients 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:348.
HIV-infected patients may be at increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) events, and lipodystrophy is generally associated with proatherogenic metabolic disturbances. Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) has been used as a surrogate marker for atherosclerosis and it has been shown to be an independent risk factor for CV disease. Our objective was to evaluate cIMT in HIV-infected patients on combined anti-retroviral therapy (cART) with and without lipodystrophy defined by fat mass ratio (L-FMR), and to determine the association of lipodystrophy and visceral obesity [(visceral (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume and VAT/SAT ratio, objectively evaluated by CT scan] with cIMT.
Cross-sectional study of 199 HIV-infected patients. Body composition by DXA and abdominal CT, lipids, blood pressure, inflammatory markers, and cIMT by ultrasonography were performed. L-FMR was defined as the ratio of the percentage of trunk fat mass to the percentage of lower limb fat mass by DXA. Categorical variables were compared using the chi-square or Fisher’s exact test. Spearman correlation coefficients were estimated to study the association between cIMT and clinical and metabolic characteristics. Means of cIMT, adjusted for age, were calculated, using generalized linear models.
L-FMR was present in 41.2% of patients and cIMT was higher in these patients [0.81 (0.24) vs. 0.76 (0.25); p = 0.037)]. Lipodystrophic patients had higher VAT and VAT/SAT ratio and lower SAT. cIMT was associated with lipodystrophy evaluated by FMR, trunk fat, total abdominal fat, VAT and VAT/SAT ratio. No association was observed between cIMT and leg fat mass. Using generalized linear models, cIMT means were adjusted for age and no significant differences remained after this adjustment. The adjusted mean of cIMT was 0.787 (95% CI: 0.751-0.823) in patients without lipodystrophy, and 0.775 (95% CI: 0.732-0.817) in those with lipodystrophy (p = 0.671).
HIV-infected patients on cART with lipodystrophy defined by FMR, had a significantly higher cIMT. Carotid IMT was also associated with classical cardiovascular risk factors. In these patients, visceral adipose tissue had a significant impact on cIMT, although age was the strongest associated factor.
PMCID: PMC4087129  PMID: 24958511
Lipodystrophy; HIV; Carotid intima media thickness; Fat mass ratio; Body composition
2.  Effects of Aging and Smoking on Carotid Intima Media Thickness in HIV-infection 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(1):49-57.
To investigate the effects of aging and smoking on carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) among patients with and without HIV.
Data from a community sample of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected participants were analyzed. Carotid intima-media thickness was measured via carotid ultrasound and smoking history was obtained via patient interview.
Data on 166male and female participants with stable HIV-infection and 152 healthy HIV-uninfected participants were analyzed. Among the HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected participants, a significant association was observed between age and cIMT [r=0.51, P<0.0001 (HIV), r=0.39, P<0.0001, (non-HIV)], and between smoking burden and cIMT [r=0.42, P<0.0001 (HIV), r=0.24, P=0.003 (non-HIV)]. In multivariate regression modeling among all participants (HIV and non-HIV), a significant three-way interaction was observed between age, smoking burden, and HIV status with respect to cIMT (P<0.010), controlling for gender, race and traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, such that increased cIMT was associated with increased smoking burden and age to a greater degree among HIV-infected vs. HIV-uninfected participants. Among HIV-infected participants a significant interaction between smoking burden and age with respect to cIMT was seen (P=0.027), controlling for race, gender, CVD risk factors, immunological function and antiretroviral therapy use.
A significant interaction between HIV, age and smoking on cIMT was observed, suggesting that HIV-infection modifies the relationship of age and smoking on cIMT in this population. These findings emphasize the need to encourage smoking cessation in this population, due to its deleterious effect on subclinical atherosclerosis in older HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3690796  PMID: 22874518
HIV; Aging; Cardiovascular Diseases; Smoking
3.  Carotid intima-media thickness progression to predict cardiovascular events in the general population (the PROG-IMT collaborative project): a meta-analysis of individual participant data 
Lancet  2012;379(9831):2053-2062.
Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is related to the risk of cardiovascular events in the general population. An association between changes in cIMT and cardiovascular risk is frequently assumed but has rarely been reported. Our aim was to test this association.
We identified general population studies that assessed cIMT at least twice and followed up participants for myocardial infarction, stroke, or death. The study teams collaborated in an individual participant data meta-analysis. Excluding individuals with previous myocardial infarction or stroke, we assessed the association between cIMT progression and the risk of cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke, vascular death, or a combination of these) for each study with Cox regression. The log hazard ratios (HRs) per SD difference were pooled by random effects meta-analysis.
Of 21 eligible studies, 16 with 36 984 participants were included. During a mean follow-up of 7·0 years, 1519 myocardial infarctions, 1339 strokes, and 2028 combined endpoints (myocardial infarction, stroke, vascular death) occurred. Yearly cIMT progression was derived from two ultrasound visits 2–7 years (median 4 years) apart. For mean common carotid artery intima-media thickness progression, the overall HR of the combined endpoint was 0·97 (95% CI 0·94–1·00) when adjusted for age, sex, and mean common carotid artery intima-media thickness, and 0·98 (0·95–1·01) when also adjusted for vascular risk factors. Although we detected no associations with cIMT progression in sensitivity analyses, the mean cIMT of the two ultrasound scans was positively and robustly associated with cardiovascular risk (HR for the combined endpoint 1·16, 95% CI 1·10–1·22, adjusted for age, sex, mean common carotid artery intima-media thickness progression, and vascular risk factors). In three studies including 3439 participants who had four ultrasound scans, cIMT progression did not correlate between occassions (reproducibility correlations between r=−0·06 and r=−0·02).
The association between cIMT progression assessed from two ultrasound scans and cardiovascular risk in the general population remains unproven. No conclusion can be derived for the use of cIMT progression as a surrogate in clinical trials.
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
PMCID: PMC3918517  PMID: 22541275
4.  Effect of inter-reader variability on outcomes in studies using carotid intima media thickness quantified by carotid ultrasonography 
European journal of epidemiology  2010;25(6):385-392.
Systematic differences between readers or equipment in imaging studies are not uncommon; failure to account for such differences when using Carotid Ultrasonography may introduce bias into associations between carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and outcomes. We demonstrate the impact of this source of systematic measurement error (SME) using data on 5,521 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and 661 participants from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM). Participants were between 37 and 78 years old. Two outcomes were considered: (1) the effect of HIV infection on cIMT (between study) and (2) the association of cIMT with cardiovascular events (within study). All estimates were adjusted for demographics (age, gender, and ethnicity) and for traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors (smoking, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol). When comparing the FRAM and MESA cohorts to estimate the association of HIV infection on common cIMT, accounting for machine and reader variability (between study variability) reduced the difference associated with HIV infection from +0.080 mm (95% Confidence Interval (CI):0.065–0.095) to +0.037 mm (95% CI:0.003 to 0.072) while internal cIMT declined from +0.254 mm (95% CI:0.205–0.303) to +0.192 mm (95% CI:0.076–0.308). Attenuation of the association between cIMT and cardiovascular endpoints occurred when within study reader variability was not accounted for. The effect of SME due to use of multiple readers or machines is most important when comparisons are made between two different study populations. Within-cohort measurement error dilutes the association with events.
PMCID: PMC3161119  PMID: 20309612
Carotid intima media thickness; Measurement error; Bias; Carotid ultrasonography
5.  Traditional Risk Factors are Not Major Contributors to the Variance in Carotid Intima-Media Thickness 
Background and Purpose
Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (cIMT) was a widely accepted ultrasound marker of subclinical atherosclerosis in the past. Although traditional risk factors may explain approximately 50% of the variance in plaque burden, they may not explain such a high proportion of the variance in IMT, especially when measured in plaque free-locations. We aimed this study to identify individuals with cIMT unexplained by traditional risk factors for future environmental and genetic research.
As part of the Northern Manhattan Study, 1,790 stroke-free individuals (mean age 69±9; 60% women; 61% Hispanic, 19% black, 18% white) were assessed for cIMT using B-mode carotid ultrasound. Multiple linear regression models were evaluated: (1) incorporating pre-specified traditional risk factors; and (2) including less traditional factors, such as inflammation biomarkers, adiponectin, homocysteine and kidney function. Standardized cIMT residual scores were constructed to select individuals with unexplained cIMT.
Mean total cIMT was 0.92±0.09 mm. The traditional model explained 11% of the variance in cIMT. Age (7%), male sex (3%), glucose (<1%), pack years of smoking (<1%), and LDL-cholesterol (<1%) were significant contributing factors. The model including inflammatory biomarkers explained 16% of the variance in cIMT. Adiponectin was the only additional significant contributor to the variance in cIMT. We identified 358 (20%) individuals with cIMT unexplained by the investigated risk factors.
Vascular risk factors explain only a small proportion of variance in cIMT. Identification of novel genetic and environmental factors underlying unexplained subclinical atherosclerosis is of outmost importance for future effective prevention of vascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3738011  PMID: 23704105
carotid ultrasound; carotid intima-media thickness; risk factors
6.  Reduced Kidney Function and Preclinical Atherosclerosis in HIV-Infected Individuals: The Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;33(5):453-460.
Reduced kidney function and albuminuria are associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality in HIV-infected individuals. We investigated whether reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and albuminuria are associated with subclinical vascular disease, as assessed by carotid intima-medial thickness (cIMT).
Cross-sectional analysis of 476 HIV-infected individuals without clinical evidence of CVD enrolled in the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection (FRAM) study, using multivariable linear regression. eGFRCys and eGFRCr were calculated from cystatin C and creatinine levels. Albuminuria was defined as a positive urine dipstick (≥1+) or urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio ≥30 mg/g. Common and internal cIMT were measured by high-resolution B-mode ultrasound.
In unadjusted analyses, eGFRCys and eGFRCr were strongly associated with common and internal cIMT. Each 10 ml/min/1.73 m2 decrease in eGFRCys and eGFRCr was associated with a 0.008 mm higher common cIMT (p = 0.003, p = 0.01) and a 0.024 and 0.029 mm higher internal cIMT (p = 0.003), respectively. These associations were eliminated after adjustment for age, gender, and race. Albuminuria showed little association with common or internal cIMT in all models.
In HIV-infected individuals without prior CVD, reduced kidney function and albuminuria were not independently associated with subclinical vascular disease, as assessed by cIMT. These results suggest that research should focus on searching for novel mechanisms by which kidney disease confers cardiovascular risk in HIV-infected individuals.
PMCID: PMC3100378  PMID: 21508633
Cystatin C; Intima-medial thickness; HIV; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Kidney
7.  Previous gestational diabetes is independently associated with increased carotid intima-media thickness, similarly to metabolic syndrome – a case control study 
Women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus (pGDM) face a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and, consequently, a higher cardiovascular risk. This study aimed to compare the carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) from young women with pGDM to those with metabolic syndrome (MS) and to healthy controls (CG) to verify whether a past history of pGDM could be independently associated with increased cIMT.
This is a cross-sectional study performed in two academic referral centers. Seventy-nine women with pGDM, 30 women with MS, and 60 CG aged between 18 and 47 years were enrolled. They all underwent physical examination and had blood glucose, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLc), and triglycerides determined. The cIMT was measured by ultrasound in several carotid segments. The primary endpoint was cIMT and clinically relevant parameters included as predictors were: age, systolic blood pressure, waist, BMI, total cholesterol, LDLc, triglycerides, fasting glucose, previous history of GDM as a whole group, previous history of GDM without MS, presence of DM, presence of MS, and parity.
cIMT was significantly higher in pGDM when compared to CG in all sites of measurements (P < 0.05) except for the right common carotid. The pGDM women showed similar cIMT measurements to MS in all sites of measurements, except for the left carotid bifurcation, where it was significantly higher than MS (P < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis which included classical cardiovascular risk factors and was adjusted for confounders, pGDM was shown to be independently associated with increased composite cIMT (P < 0.01). The pGDM without risk factors further showed similar cIMT to MS (P > 0.05) and an increased cIMT when compared to controls (P < 0.05).
Previous GDM was independently associated with increased composite cIMT in this young population, similarly to those with MS and regardless the presence of established cardiovascular risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3403942  PMID: 22651701
Atherosclerosis; Gestational diabetes; Intima-media thickness; Carotid doppler ultrasonography; Metabolic syndrome
8.  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
9.  Common carotid artery intima–media thickness is as good as carotid intima–media thickness of all carotid artery segments in improving prediction of coronary heart disease risk in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study 
European Heart Journal  2011;33(2):183-190.
Carotid intima–media thickness (CIMT) and plaque information can improve coronary heart disease (CHD) risk prediction when added to traditional risk factors (TRF). However, obtaining adequate images of all carotid artery segments (A-CIMT) may be difficult. Of A-CIMT, the common carotid artery intima–media thickness (CCA-IMT) is relatively more reliable and easier to measure. We evaluated whether CCA-IMT is comparable to A-CIMT when added to TRF and plaque information in improving CHD risk prediction in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.
Methods and results
Ten-year CHD risk prediction models using TRF alone, TRF + A-CIMT + plaque, and TRF + CCA-IMT + plaque were developed for the overall cohort, men, and women. The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC), per cent individuals reclassified, net reclassification index (NRI), and model calibration by the Grønnesby–Borgan test were estimated. There were 1722 incident CHD events in 12 576 individuals over a mean follow-up of 15.2 years. The AUC for TRF only, TRF + A-CIMT + plaque, and TRF + CCA-IMT + plaque models were 0.741, 0.754, and 0.753, respectively. Although there was some discordance when the CCA-IMT + plaque- and A-CIMT + plaque-based risk estimation was compared, the NRI and clinical NRI (NRI in the intermediate-risk group) when comparing the CIMT models with TRF-only model, per cent reclassified, and test for model calibration were not significantly different.
Coronary heart disease risk prediction can be improved by adding A-CIMT + plaque or CCA-IMT + plaque information to TRF. Therefore, evaluating the carotid artery for plaque presence and measuring CCA-IMT, which is easier and more reliable than measuring A-CIMT, provide a good alternative to measuring A-CIMT for CHD risk prediction.
PMCID: PMC3258447  PMID: 21666250
CIMT; Plaque; Risk prediction
10.  Risk factors and their impact on carotid intima-media thickness in young and middle-aged ischemic stroke patients and controls: The Norwegian Stroke in the Young Study 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:176.
Vascular morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) are high after ischemic stroke at a young age. Data on carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) as marker of atherosclerosis are scarce for young stroke populations. In this prospective case–control study, we examined cIMT, the burden of vascular risk factors (RF) and their associations among young and middle-aged ischemic stroke patients and controls. We aimed to detect clinical and sub-clinical arterial disease.
This study was conducted in 150 patients aged 15–60 years and 84 controls free of CVD. We related RF to ultrasonographic B-mode cIMT-measurements obtained from 12 standardized multiangle measurements in the common carotid artery (CCA), carotid bifurcation (BIF) and internal carotid artery (ICA).
RF burden was higher among patients than among controls (p < 0.001). In multivariate analyses of all 234 participants, increased cIMT was associated with age in each carotid segment. Incident stroke was associated with increased ICA-IMT. ICA-IMT increase was associated with a family history of CVD among patients aged 15–44 years, and with RF at mid-age. The overall cIMT difference between patients and controls was 12% for CCA, 17% for BIF and 29% for ICA. Further, increased CCA-IMT was associated with male sex and hypertension. Increased BIF-IMT was associated with dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease and smoking. Increased ICA-IMT was associated with dyslipidemia and stroke.
Ischemic stroke is associated with increased ICA-IMT, related to a family history of CVD among patients aged <45 years, and to increasing RF burden with increasing age. Preventive strategies and aggressive RF treatment are indicated to avoid future cardiovascular events.
Trial registration
NOR-SYS is registered in (NCT01597453).
PMCID: PMC3986875  PMID: 24669965
Young stroke; Ischemic stroke; Risk factors; Carotid intima-media thickness; Atherosclerosis; Ultrasound
11.  Markers of Atherosclerosis and Inflammation and Mortality in Patients with HIV Infection 
Atherosclerosis  2010;214(2):468-473.
HIV-infected patients are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, which may be mediated in part by inflammation. Surrogate marker studies suggest an increased prevalence of vascular abnormalities in HIV infection. We examined the association of all-cause mortality in HIV-infected patients with carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT) and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP).
Design and Methods
Baseline risk factors, cIMT and hsCRP were prospectively measured in 327 HIV-infected participants. Follow-up time with median of 3.1 years was calculated from baseline to death or censored dated 7/31/07. Cox Proportional Hazards models were used to study risk factors associated with mortality.
Thirty eight (11.6 %) of participants have died since study enrollment. CIMT was significantly higher in those who died and decedents were significantly more likely to have cIMT above the 75th percentile. Those who died had higher hsCRP than those alive and more had hsCRP values above 3 mg/L. CD4 count was lower and log10 viral load was higher in decedents, but antiretroviral regimens were similar in both groups. CIMT and hsCRP levels were significantly associated with mortality (HR=2.74, 95% CI 1.26 to 5.97, p=0.01; HR=2.38, 95% CI 1.15 to 4.9, p=0.02).
Our study demonstrated a strong association of carotid IMT and hsCRP with all-cause death in this HIV-infected population despite being similar with respect to exposure to antiretroviral medications. Together these surrogate markers may be indices of chronic inflammation and unfavorable outcomes in HIV-positive patients.
PMCID: PMC3034311  PMID: 21130995
12.  The CD14 C-260T single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) modulates monocyte/macrophage activation in treated HIV-infected individuals 
HIV-infected individuals have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). T-allele carriers of the CD14 C-260T single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) have reported increased expression of the LPS-binding receptor, CD14 and inflammation in the general population. Our aim was to explore the relationship of this SNP with monocyte/macrophage activation and inflammation and its association with sub-clinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected individuals.
Patients with no pre-existing CVD risk factors on suppressive antiretroviral therapy were recruited from University Malaya Medical Centre, Malaysia (n = 84). The CD14 C-260T and TLR4 SNPs, Asp299Gly and Thr399Ile were genotyped and soluble(s) CD14 and sCD163 and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, hsCRP were measured in plasma. Subclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by measuring carotid intima media thickness (cIMT). The association between CD14 C-260T SNP carriage and cIMT was assessed in a multivariable quantile regression model where a p-value of <0.05 was considered significant.
We found the CD14 C-260T T-allele in 56% of the cohort and evidence of subclinical atherosclerosis in 27%. TT genotype was associated with higher sCD163 (p = 0.009) but only marginally higher sCD14 (p = 0.209) and no difference in hsCRP (p = 0.296) compared to CC/CT. In multivariable analysis, only Framingham risk score was independently associated with higher cIMT while lower sCD163 was trending towards significance. No association was found in TT-genotype carriers and cIMT measurements.
The CD14 C-260T SNP was associated with increased monocyte activation but not systemic inflammation or cIMT in this HIV-infected cohort with low CVD risk profile.
PMCID: PMC4311493  PMID: 25622527
HIV; Lipopolysaccharide; CD12 C-260T; Soluble CD14; Soluble CD163; Monocyte activation; C-reactive protein; Atherosclerosis; Carotid intima media thickness
13.  Polymorphisms of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, vascular endothelial growth factor, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and apolipoprotein E genes are not associated with carotid intima-media thickness 
Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and apolipoprotein E (ApoE) genes appear to be a genetic risk factor for atherosclerosis. Common carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) provides information on the severity of atherosclerosis.
To investigate the relationship between cIMT and gene polymorphisms associated with atherosclerosis in Turkish patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).
Sixty-two patients with angiographically diagnosed stable CAD were divided into two groups according to their cIMT values (group 1: n=35, cIMT of 1 mm or greater; group 2: n=27, cIMT of less than 1 mm). MTHFR 677 C/T, VEGF–460 C/T, eNOS 894 G/T, MCP-1–2518 A/G and ApoE (E2, E3 and E4) gene polymorphisms (where A is adenine, C is cytosine, G is guanine and T is thymine) were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism. Evaluations of cardiovascular risk factors and coronary atherosclerotic lesions were performed in all patients. Serum homocysteine and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were measured and compared between the two groups.
Serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (P=0.04) and homocysteine (P=0.006) levels were higher in group 1 than in group 2. The ratio of multivessel CAD and previous myocardial infarction was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (P=0.014). In the study population, no significant difference in cIMT was observed according to the polymorphisms studied. Only hyperhomocysteinemia (OR 1.17 [95% CI 1.01 to 1.35], P=0.033) and previous myocardial infarction (OR 3.76 [95% CI 1.10 to 12.81], P=0.034) maintained a significant correlation with cIMT on multiple logistic regression analysis.
cIMT is increased in patients with hyperhomocysteinemia, inflammation and extended CAD. MTHFR 677 C/T, VEGF–460 C/T, eNOS 894 G/T, MCP-1–2518 A/G and ApoE single nucleotide polymorphisms were not associated with increased cIMT.
PMCID: PMC2691882  PMID: 19148342
Atherosclerosis-related genes; Carotid intima-media thickness; Coronary artery disease; Homocysteine
14.  Cardiovascular Risk Factor Profiles for Peripheral Artery Disease and Carotid Atherosclerosis among Chinese Older People: A Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85927.
Epidemiological data concerning atherosclerotic disease among older people in rural China are sparse. We seek to determine prevalence and cardiovascular risk factor profiles for peripheral artery disease (PAD) and carotid atherosclerosis (CAS) among Chinese older people living in a rural community.
This cross-sectional study included 1499 participants (age ≥60 years, 59.0% women) of the Confucius Hometown Aging Project in Shandong, China. From June 2010–July 2011, data were collected through interviews, clinical examinations, and laboratory tests. PAD was defined as an ankle-brachial index ≤0.9. Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and carotid artery stenosis were assessed by ultrasonography. We defined moderate stenosis as carotid stenosis ≥50%, and severe stenosis as carotid stenosis ≥70%. cIMT≥1.81 mm was considered as an increased cIMT (a measure of CAS). Data were analyzed with multiple logistic models.
The prevalence was 5.7% for PAD, 8.9% for moderate stenosis, 1.8% for severe stenosis, and 11.2% for increased cIMT. After controlling for multiple potential confounders, diabetes, an increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) ratio, and hypertension were significantly or marginally associated with PAD. Ever smoking, hypertension, and an increased LDL-C/HDL-C ratio were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of increased cIMT. An increasing number of those cardiovascular risk factors were significantly associated with an increasing odds ratio of PAD and increased cIMT, respectively (p for linear trend <0.001).
Among Chinese older people living in a rural community, PAD, carotid artery stenosis, and an increased cIMT are relatively uncommon. Cardiovascular risk factor profiles for PAD and CAS are slightly different, with hypertension and an increased LDL-C/HDL-C ratio being associated with an increased likelihood of both PAD and increased cIMT.
PMCID: PMC3895010  PMID: 24465793
15.  Relationship Between Neck Circumference and Cardiometabolic Parameters in HIV-Infected and non–HIV-Infected Adults 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(4):1026-1031.
Upper body fat is associated with increased cardiometabolic risk. More recently, neck circumference (NC) and/or neck fat have been associated with hyperlipidemia, impaired glucose homeostasis, and hypertension. The objective of this study was to determine whether this relationship is evident in HIV-infected individuals, who often exhibit changes in relative fat distribution, and to determine whether NC is independently associated with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in HIV and non–HIV-infected patients.
Body composition, including anthropometrics, visceral adipose tissue assessment by CT, and metabolic parameters, including lipids, cIMT, and oral glucose tolerance test, were measured in 174 men and women with HIV infection and 154 non–HIV-infected subjects. NC was measured in triplicate inferior to the laryngeal prominence.
In univariate analysis, NC was significantly and positively related to blood pressure, hemoglobin A1c, glucose, and insulin and significantly and negatively related to HDL cholesterol in HIV-infected individuals and HIV-negative control subjects. NC was significantly associated with cIMT in univariate regression analysis among HIV-infected (r = 0.21, P = 0.006) and non–HIV-infected (r = 0.31, P = 0.0001) patients. This relationship remained significant among non–HIV-infected patients (R2 = 0.45, P < 0.001) but not HIV-infected patients in multivariate modeling controlling for age, sex, race, smoking hypertension, glucose, and lipids.
Among both HIV and non–HIV-infected patients, increased NC is strongly associated with decreased HDL and impaired glucose homeostasis. Among non–HIV-infected subjects, NC also predicts increased cIMT when controlling for traditional risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3064017  PMID: 21378212
16.  Clinical Factors Associated with Carotid Plaque and Intima-Medial Thickness in HIV-Infected Patients 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2013;54(4):990-998.
HIV-infected patients are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, which may be mediated in part by inflammation. This study aimed to evaluate the risk factors of carotid plaque, and clinical factors associated with carotid atherosclerosis measured by carotid intima-medial thickness (cIMT) in HIV patients.
Materials and Methods
Clinical and cardiometabolic factors as well as cIMT were prospectively measured in 145 HIV-infected participants who had received combined antiretroviral therapy for ≥6 months. The mean value of the bilateral average cIMT level was used as Mean-IMT in the analysis, and the greatest value among the measured cIMT levels was used as Max-IMT.
Among 145 patients, 34 (23.4%) had carotid plaque. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed three independent risk factors of carotid plaque: old age [odds ratio (OR) 6.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09-34.88; p=0.040], hypertension (OR 12.62, 95% CI 1.72-92.49; p=0.013) and higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (OR 1.08, 95% CI 1.01-1.16; p=0.039). Levels of estimated glomerular filtration rate were inversely associated with Mean-IMT (r=-0.379, p<0.001) and Max-IMT (r=-0.389, p<0.001). Stepwise multivariate regression analyses revealed that age, total cholesterol and fasting glucose were positively correlated with cIMT, independent of other risk factors.
The presence of hypertension, old age and a higher level of LDL-C were independent risk factors of carotid plaque among HIV-infected subjects.
PMCID: PMC3663240  PMID: 23709436
Carotid plaque; carotid artery intima-media thickness; atherosclerosis; combined antiretroviral therapy; HIV infection
17.  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
18.  Risk Factors Associated with Aortic and Carotid Intimal-Medial Thickness in Adolescents and Young Adults: the Muscatine Offspring Study 
To determine whether cardiovascular risk factors are associated with aortic and carotid intimal-medial thickness (aIMT and cIMT) in adolescents and young adults.
Atherosclerotic lesions begin developing in youth, first in the distal abdominal aorta and later in the carotid arteries. Knowledge of how risk factors relate to aIMT and cIMT may help in the design of early interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Participants were 635 members of the Muscatine Offspring cohort. The mean aIMT and cIMT were measured using an automated reading program.
The means (SDs) of aIMT and cIMT were 0.63 (0.14) mm and 0.49 (0.04) mm, respectively. In adolescents (ages 11 to 17), aIMT was associated with triglycerides, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), body mass index (BMI), and waist/hip ratio, after adjusting for age, gender, and height. In young adults (ages 18 to 34), aIMT was associated with those same five risk factors, plus HDL-cholesterol and pulse pressure. In adolescents, cIMT was associated with SBP, pulse pressure, heart rate, BMI, and waist/hip ratio. In young adults, cIMT was associated total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, SBP, .DBP, BMI, waist/hip ratio, and HbA1C. In both age groups, aIMT and cIMT were significantly correlated with the PDAY coronary artery risk score.
Both aIMT and cIMT are associated with cardiovascular risk factors. Using aIMT in adolescents gives information beyond that obtained from cIMT alone. Measurement of aIMT and cIMT may help identify those at risk for premature cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2747309  PMID: 19520251
Atherosclerosis; Ultrasound; Preclinical disease; Abdominal aorta; IMT
19.  A Genome-wide Association Study of Carotid Atherosclerosis in HIV-infected Men 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(4):583-592.
The role of host genetics in the development of subclinical atherosclerosis in the context of HIV infected persons who are being treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is not well understood.
The present genome-wide association study (GWAS) is based on 177 HIV-positive Caucasian males receiving HAART who participated in the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) Study. Common and internal carotid intima-media thicknesses (cIMT) measured by B-mode ultrasound were used as a subclinical measure of atherosclerosis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assayed using the Illumina HumanCNV370-quad beadchip. Copy Number Variants (CNV) were inferred using a hidden Markov Model (PennCNV). Regression analyses were used to assess the association of common and internal cIMT with individual SNPs and CNVs, adjusting for age, duration of antiretroviral treatment, and principal components to account for potential population stratification.
Two SNPs in tight linkage disequilibrium, rs2229116 (a missense, nonsynonymous polymorphism (IIe to Val)) and rs7177922, located in the Ryanodine receptor (RYR3) gene on chromosome 15 were significantly associated with common cIMT (p-value<1.61×10−7). The RYR gene family has been known to play a role in the etiology of cardiovascular disease and has been shown to be regulated by HIV TAT protein.
These results suggest that in the context of HIV infection and HAART, a functional SNP in a biologically plausible candidate gene, RYR3, is associated with increased common carotid IMT, which is a surrogate for atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3072760  PMID: 20009918
HIV; HAART; atherosclerosis; GWAS; intima-media thickness
20.  The Relationship between Vitamin D Status and HIV-Related Complications in HIV-infected Children and Young Adults 
In HIV-infected adults, we and others have shown that vitamin D deficiency is independently associated with increased carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), a surrogate marker for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study explored for the first time the relationship between vitamin D and CVD risk in HIV-infected youth.
This is a cross-sectional assessment of cIMT, inflammation, metabolic markers and vitamin D status in HIV-infected youth and healthy controls. We measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), fasting lipids, insulin, glucose, inflammatory markers, and cIMT.
30 HIV–infected subjects and 31 controls were included. Among HIV-infected subjects, median age was 11 years (37% males; 73% black; similar to controls). HIV-infected subjects’ mean (standard deviation) serum 25(OH)D was 24 (35) ng/mL; 70% had 25(OH)D <20 ng/mL (deficient), 23% between 20–30 ng/mL (insufficient), and 7% >30 ng/mL (sufficient); proportions were similar to controls (P=0.17). After adjusting for season, sex and race, there was no difference in serum 25(OH)D between groups (P=0.11). Serum 25(OH)D was not significantly correlated with cIMT, inflammatory markers, or lipids. Serum 25(OH)D was negatively correlated with body mass index, insulin resistance, HIV duration, and cumulative use of antiretroviral therapy, non- and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
Most HIV-infected youth have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Despite no direct association between serum 25(OH)D and cIMT, there were notable associations with some CVD risk factors, particularly inverse correlation with insulin resistance. Studies are needed to determine whether CVD risk, including insulin resistance, could be improved with vitamin D supplementation.
PMCID: PMC3750101  PMID: 23360833
HIV; children and adolescents; vitamin D deficiency; cardiovascular disease; insulin resistance
21.  Early signs of atherosclerosis are associated with insulin resistance in non-obese adolescent and young adults with type 1 diabetes 
Patients with type 1 diabetes have a substantial risk of developing cardiovascular complications early in life. We aimed to explore the role of insulin sensitivity (Si) as an early factor of atherosclerosis in young type 1 diabetes vs. non-diabetic subjects.
Forty adolescent and young adult individuals (20 type 1 diabetics and 20 non-diabetics), age 14–20 years, without characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, participated in this cross-sectional study. After an overnight fast, Si was measured by hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp (40 mU/m2) and calculated by glucose infusion rate (GIR). Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) was measured in the common carotid artery with high-resolution ultrasonography. Risk factors of atherosclerosis (Body mass index [BMI], waist circumference, systolic blood pressure [sBP], triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol and HbA1c) were also investigated.
cIMT was increased (0.52 ± 0.1 vs. 0.47 ± 0.1 mm, P < 0.01), whereas GIR was decreased (5.0 ± 2.1 vs. 7.1 ± 2.2 mg/kg/min, P < 0.01) in type 1 diabetics vs. non-diabetics. The differences in cIMT were negatively associated with Si (r = −0.4, P < 0.01) and positively associated with waist circumference (r = 0.34, P = 0.03), with no such associations between BMI (r = 0.15, P = 0.32), sBP (r = 0.09, P = 0.58), triglycerides (r = 0.07, P = 0.66), HDL-cholesterol (r = 0.10, P = 0.55) and HbA1c (r = 0.24, P = 0.13). In a multivariate regression model, between cIMT (dependent) and group (explanatory), only adjustment for Si affected the significance (ß = 0.08, P = 0.11) vs. (ß = 0.07, P < 0.01) for the whole model. No interaction between cIMT, groups and Si was observed.
cIMT is increased and associated with insulin resistance in adolescent, non-obese type 1 diabetic subjects. Although, no conclusions toward a causal relationship can be drawn from current findings, insulin resistance emerges as an important factor reflecting early signs of atherosclerosis in this small cohort.
PMCID: PMC3538551  PMID: 23185996
Adolescent; Atherosclerosis; Carotid intima-media thickness; Insulin sensitivity; Type 1 diabetes
22.  Carotid intima media thickness in type 2 diabetes mellitus with ischemic stroke 
Diabetes mellitus is associated with high cardiovascular risk. Carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) is used commonly as a noninvasive test for the assessment of degree of atherosclerosis. The objective of this study was to find out the cut-off point for CIMT for ischemic stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and to correlate CIMT with various parameters like smoking, hypertension, lipid profile and duration of T2DM.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 80 subjects in the age group of 30–75 years (M:F = 57:23) were selected and divided into three groups, i.e. diabetes with ischemic stroke, diabetes and healthy subjects. All the participants were subjected to B-mode ultrasonography of both common carotid arteries to determine CIMT, along with history taking, physical examination and routine laboratory investigations including included fasting and 2-hour postprandial blood sugar, blood urea, serum creatinine, lipid profile, glycated hemoglobin, and microalbuminuria.
Patients with T2DM with or without ischemic stroke were found to have significantly higher prevalence of increased CIMT and a value greater than 0.8 mm was found to be associated with the occurrence of stroke. The mean carotid IMT of the group as a whole was 0.840 ± 0.2 mm. The mean carotid IMT was not significantly different between T2DM patients with or without ischemic stroke (1.06 ± 0.2 vs. 0.97 ± 0.26 mm, P = 0.08). However, the mean CIMT was significantly higher in diabetic subjects compared to healthy subjects (1.01 ± 0.28 mm vs. 0.73 ± 0.08, P = 0.006). Other parameters like higher age, smoking, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, low HDL cholesterol, the glycemic parameters and the duration of diabetes were independently and significantly related to CIMT.
A high CIMT is a surrogate and reliable marker of higher risk of ischemic stroke amongst type 2 diabetic patients. Our study demonstrates the utility of carotid IMT as a simple non-invasive screening test for the assessment of atherosclerosis risk/prognosis in type 2 diabetics.
PMCID: PMC3743376  PMID: 23961492
B-mode ultrasonography; carotid intima media thickness; diabetes mellitus; ischemic stroke
23.  High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Particle Concentrations, Carotid Atherosclerosis and Coronary Events: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
To evaluate independent associations of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and particle (HDL-P) concentrations with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and incident coronary heart disease (CHD).
HDL-C is inversely related to CHD, but also to triglycerides, LDL particles (LDL-P), and related metabolic risk. HDL-P associations with CHD may be partially independent of these factors.
In a multi-ethnic study of 5598 men and women ages 45-84, without baseline CHD, excluding subjects on lipid-lowering medications, triglycerides >400 mg/dl or missing values, we evaluated associations of HDL-C and NMR-spectroscopy-measured HDL-P with cIMT and incident CHD (myocardial infarction, CHD death, angina, n=227 events, 6.0 years mean follow-up). All models were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, hypertension and smoking.
HDL-C and HDL-P correlated with each other (π=0.69) and LDL-P (π = −0.38, −0.25, respectively), p<0.05 for all. For (1-SD) higher HDL-C (15 mg/dl) or HDL-P (6.64 μmol/l), cIMT differences (95%CI) were −26.1(−34.7,−17.4) and −30.1 (−38.8,−21.4) μm, and CHD hazard ratios (HR (95%CI)) were 0.74 (0.63, 0.88) and 0.70 (0.59, 0.82), respectively. Adjusted for each other and LDL-P, HDL-C was no longer associated with cIMT (2.3 (−9.5, 14.2) μm) or CHD (0.97(0.77, 1.22)), but HDL-P remained independently associated with cIMT (−22.2(−33.8,−10.6) μm) and CHD (0.75 (0.61, 0.93)). Interactions by sex, ethnicity, diabetes and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were not significant.
Adjusting for each other and LDL-P substantially attenuated associations of HDL-C, but not HDL-P, with cIMT and CHD. Potential confounding by related lipids or lipoproteins should be carefully considered when evaluating HDL-related risk.
PMCID: PMC3411890  PMID: 22796256
Lipids; lipoproteins; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein particles; cardiovascular disease
24.  The effect of cardiovascular risk factors on the longitudinal evolution of the carotid intima medial thickness in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus 
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a generally accepted atherogenic risk factor. The aim of this prospective longitudinal study was to evaluate changes in carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) using standardized methods.
We re-evaluated cIMT in 70 (38 f) of initial 150 (80 f) patients with T1DM after 4 years. At re-evaluation, mean (± SD) age was 16.45 ± 2.59 y, mean diabetes duration was 9.2 ± 3.24 y and patients had a mean HbA1c of 8.14 ± 1.06%.
Mean cIMT z-scores increased significantly during 4 years (0.58 ± 0.75, p < 0.001) as well as BMI-z-score (0.41 ± 0.81, p < 0.01), systolic blood pressure (0.77 ± 1.15, p < 0.01) and HbA1c (0.90 ± 1.07, < 0.001). In a linear regression model systolic blood pressure z-score at first measurement (0.02, CI: 0.01, 0.04) was a significant predictor for the mean effect on cIMT z-score. In a logistic regression model significant risk factors for an increase in IMT of ≥1.5 z-scores were BMI z-scores (OR: 3.02, CI:1.11, 10.14), diabetes duration (OR:1.32, CI:1.04, 1.77) and systolic blood pressure (OR: 1.14, CI: 1.04, 1.27) at first measurement each.
Longitudinal cIMT measurements revealed progression in subclinical atherosclerosis during a four year period in diabetic children and adolescents. Systolic blood pressure and BMI were related to cIMT increment. Control of these risk factors by lifestyle and medical intervention may prevent progression of cIMT in diabetic children.
PMCID: PMC3148557  PMID: 21679428
Intima medial thickness; subclinical atherosclerosis; Type 1 diabetes mellitus; Follow up study; cardiovascular risk factors
25.  Increased Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Reduced Distensibility in Human Class III Obesity: Independent and Differential Influences of Adiposity and Blood Pressure on the Vasculature 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53972.
Carotid intima-media-thickness (cIMT) and carotid distensibility (distensibility), structural and functional properties of carotid arteries respectively, are early markers, as well as strong predictors of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The characteristic of these two parameters in individuals with BMI>40.0 kg/m2 (Class III obesity), however, are largely unknown. The present study was designed to document cIMT and distensibility in this population and to relate these to other factors with established association with CVD in obesity. The study included 96 subjects (65 with BMI>40.0 kg/m2 and 31, age- and gender-matched, with BMI of 18.5 to 30.0 kg/m2). cIMT and distensibility were measured by non-invasive high resolution ultrasonography, circulatory CD133+/KDR+ angiogenic cells and endothelial microparticles (EMP) by flow cytometry, and plasma levels of adipokines, growth factors and cytokines by Luminex immunoassay kits. The study results demonstrated increased cIMT (0.62±0.11 mm vs. 0.54±0.08 mm, P = 0.0002) and reduced distensibility (22.52±10.79 10−3kpa−1 vs. 29.91±12.37 10−3kpa−1, P<0.05) in individuals with BMI>40.0 kg/m2. Both cIMT and distensibility were significantly associated with traditional CVD risk factors, adiposity/adipokines and inflammatory markers but had no association with circulating angiogenic cells. We also demonstrated, for the first time, elevated plasma EMP levels in individuals with BMI>40.0 kg/m2. In conclusion, cIMT is increased and distensibility reduced in Class III obesity with the changes predominantly related to conventional CVD risk factors present in this condition, demonstrating that both cIMT and distensibility remain as CVD markers in Class III obesity.
PMCID: PMC3546965  PMID: 23342053

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