Arterial Stiffness, an intermediate pre-clinical marker of atherosclerosis, has been associated with an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The metabolic syndrome and its components are established CVD risk factors and may also increase arterial stiffness, but data on this potential relationship is limited. The goal of this study was to determine the association between the metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) and carotid artery stiffness (STIFF) in an elderly multi-ethnic cohort.
STIFF was assessed by carotid ultrasound as part of the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), a prospective population-based cohort of stroke-free individuals. STIFF was calculated as [ln(systolicBP/diastolicBP)/Strain], where Strain was [(Systolic Diameter Diastolic Diameter)/Diastolic Diameter]. MetSyn was defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program: Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III) criteria. LogSTIFF was analyzed as the dependent variable in linear regression models, adjusting for demographics, education, current smoking, presence of carotid plaque and intima-media thickness.
STIFF was analyzed in 1133 NOMAS subjects (mean age 65±9 years; 61% women; 58% Hispanic, 22% Black, 20% White). The prevalence of MetSyn was 49%. The mean LogSTIFF was 2.01±0.61 among those with and 1.90±0.59 among those without MetSyn (p=0.003). MetSyn was significantly associated with increased logSTIFF in the final adjusted model (parameter estimate β=0.100, p=0.01). Among individual MetSyn components, waist circumference and elevated blood pressure were most significantly associated with a mean increase in logSTIFF (p<0.01).
MetSyn is significantly associated with increased carotid artery stiffness in a multiethnic population. Increased carotid artery stiffness may, in part, explain a high risk of stroke among individuals with the metabolic syndrome.
metabolic syndrome; arterial stiffness; atherosclerosis; elderly; race-ethnicity
Behçet's disease (BD) is a systemic vasculitis involving diverse sizes of arteries and veins. We performed this study to evaluate the vascular changes by assessment of the arterial stiffness and intima-media thickness (IMT) of carotid artery in Korean patients with BD. Forty-one patients with BD and age-, and sex-matched 53 healthy subjects were recruited in this study. Carotid arterial stiffness and IMT were assessed by using high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography. Arterial stiffness parameters such as carotid arterial distensibility coefficient, stiffness index, and incremental elastic modulus (Einc) were significantly increased in BD patients compared with those in healthy subjects, but not in IMT. Positive relationship was noted between age and IMT, whereas age of onset was significantly associated with arterial stiffness in BD. This finding suggests impaired endothelial function before visible structural changes of arterial wall in BD. Age and age of onset may be an independent risk factor for carotid IMT and arterial stiffness, respectively. Further studies in more large populations are required to confirm our results.
Arterial Stiffness; Intima-media Thickness; Carotid Artery; Behçet's Disease
Pericardial fat has adverse effects on the surrounding vasculature. Previous studies suggest that pericardial fat may contribute to myocardial ischemia in symptomatic individuals. However, it is unknown if pericardial fat has similar effects in asymptomatic individuals.
We determined the association between pericardial fat and myocardial blood flow (MBF) in 214 adults with no prior history of cardiovascular disease from the Minnesota field center of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (43% female, 56% Caucasian, 44% Hispanic). Pericardial fat volume was measured by computed tomography. MBF was measured by MRI at rest and during adenosine-induced hyperemia. Myocardial perfusion reserve (PR) was calculated as the ratio of hyperemic to resting MBF.
Gender-stratified analyses revealed significant differences between men and women including less pericardial fat (71.9±31.3 vs. 105.2±57.5 cm3, p<0.0001) and higher resting MBF (1.12±0.23 vs. 0.93±0.19 ml/min/g, p<0.0001), hyperemic MBF (3.49±0.76 vs. 2.65±0.72 ml/min/g, p<0.0001), and PR (3.19±0.78 vs. 2.93±0.89, p = 0.03) in women. Correlations between pericardial fat and clinical and hemodynamic variables were stronger in women. In women only (p = 0.01 for gender interaction) higher pericardial fat was associated with higher resting MBF (p = 0.008). However, this association was attenuated after accounting for body mass index or rate-pressure product. There were no significant associations between pericardial fat and hyperemic MBF or PR after multivariate adjustment in either gender. In logistic regression analyses there was also no association between impaired coronary vasoreactivity, defined as having a PR <2.5, and pericardial fat in men (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.82–1.70) or women (OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.68–1.82).
Our data fail to support an independent association between pericardial fat and myocardial perfusion in adults without symptomatic cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, these findings highlight potentially important differences between asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals with respect to the underlying subclinical disease burden.
Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is a sub-clinical marker of atherosclerosis and a strong predictor of stroke. Pericardial fat (PF), the fat depot around the heart, has been associated with several atherosclerosis risk factors. We sought to examine the association between carotid IMT and PF, and to examine whether such an association is independent from common atherosclerosis risk factors including measures of overall adiposity.
Unadjusted and multivariable adjusted linear regression analysis was used to examine associations between common (CCA-IMT) and internal (ICA-IMT) carotid IMT with PF in a random sample of 996 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) who underwent carotid ultrasound and chest CT at baseline examination.
A significant positive correlation was observed between PF and CCA-IMT (r =0.27, P<0.0001) and ICA-IMT (r =0.17, P<0.0001). In an unadjusted sex-specific linear regression analysis, there was a significant association between PF (1-SD difference) and CCA-IMT (mm) in both women (β coefficient (95% CI): 0.06 (0.04, 0.08), P<0.0001) and men (0.03 (0.01, 0.05), P<0.0002), an association that persisted after further adjusting for age and ethnicity (0.02 (+0.00, 0.04), P=0.0120 for women, and 0.02 (+0.00, 0.03), P=0.0208 for men). However, after additional adjustment for atherosclerosis risk factors and either BMI or waist circumference, these relations were no longer significant in either sex. In similar analyses, PF was significantly associated with ICA-IMT in both men (0.11 (0.06, 0.15), P<0.0001) and women (0.08 (0.02, 0.13), P=041). These relations were no longer significant in women in multivariable adjusted models, but persisted in men in all models except after adjusting for age, ethnicity and waist circumference.
In the general population PF is associated with carotid IMT, an association that possibly not independent from markers of overall adiposity or common atherosclerosis risk factors.
The cellular basis of insulin resistance is still unknown; however, relationships have been demonstrated between insulin action in muscle and the fatty acid profile of the major membrane structural lipid (phospholipid). The present study aimed to further investigate the hypothesis that insulin action and adiposity are associated with changes in the structural lipid composition of the cell. In 52 adult male Pima Indians, insulin action (euglycemic clamp), percentage body fat (pFAT; underwater weighing), and muscle phospholipid fatty acid composition (percutaneous biopsy of vastus lateralis) were determined. Insulin action (high-dose clamp; MZ) correlated with composite measures of membrane unsaturation (% C20-22 polyunsaturated fatty acids [r= 0.463, P < 0.001], unsaturation index [r= -0.369, P < 0.01]), a number of individual fatty acids and with delta5 desaturase activity (r= 0.451, P < 0.001). pFAT (range 14-53%) correlated with a number of individual fatty acids and delta5 desaturase activity (r= -0.610, P < 0.0001). Indices of elongase activity (r= -0.467, P < 0.001), and delta9 desaturase activity (r= 0.332, P < 0.05) were also related to pFAT but not insulin action. The results demonstrate that delta5 desaturase activity is independently related to both insulin resistance and obesity. While determining the mechanisms underlying this relationship is important for future investigations, strategies aimed at restoring "normal" enzyme activities, and membrane unsaturation, may have therapeutic importance in the "syndromes of insulin resistance."
Background and Purpose
Reduced arterial distensibility has been introduced as a novel risk factor for atherosclerosis. The importance of the genetic contribution to variation in distensibility is largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to estimate heritability of carotid distensibility.
The ongoing Northern Manhattan Family Study recruits high-risk Caribbean Hispanic families to study genetic effects on stroke/cardiovascular risk factors. The distensibility metrics (strain, stiffness, distensibility, and elastic modulus) were measured from the right common carotid artery, and the heritability for each was estimated. Variance component methods were used to estimate age- and sex-adjusted heritability. Correlations were calculated to evaluate the relationship between distensibility phenotypes and intimamedia thickness (IMT) at each carotid segment.
The current data included 88 probands and 605 relatives from 88 families. Age- and sex-adjusted heritability was 25% for strain, 17% for distensibility, 20% for stiffness, and 20% for elastic modulus. Without adjustment for covariates, strong correlations were found between distensibility metrics and IMT: the absolute values of correlation coefficients were between 0.2 and 0.5, and all P values were <0.001. However, the correlation coefficients were reduced substantially after adjusting for age and sex.
These results suggested that genetic factors explained a moderate proportion of the variability of carotid distensibility. The correlations between distensibility and IMT were mainly attributable to age and sex effects. The regulation of carotid distensibility and IMT may reflect different underlying genetic and environmental mechanisms.
atherosclerosis; carotid arteries; genetics
HIV disease is associated with increased arterial stiffness, which may be related to inflammation provoked by HIV-related immune perturbation. We assessed the association of T cell markers of immune activation and immunosenescence with carotid artery stiffness among HIV-infected women.
Among 114 HIV-infected and 43 HIV-uninfected women, we measured CD4+ and CD8+ T cell populations expressing activation (CD38+HLA-DR+) and senescence (CD28-CD57+) markers. We then related these measures of immune status with parameters of carotid artery stiffness, including decreased distensibility, and increased Young’s elastic modulus, as assessed by B-mode ultrasound.
HIV infection was associated with increased CD4+ T cell activation, CD8+ T cell activation and CD8+ T cell senescence. Among HIV-infected women, adjusted for age, HIV medications, and vascular risk factors, higher CD4+CD38+HLA-DR+ T cell frequency was associated with decreased carotid artery distensibility (β= −2.00, 95% confidence interval [CI]= −3.86,−0.14, P=0.04) and increased Young’s modulus (β=1.00, 95% CI=0.03,1.97, P=0.04). These associations were affected little by further adjustment for CD4+ T cell count and viral load. Among HIV-infected women, higher frequencies of immunosenescent T cells, including CD4+CD28-CD57+ and CD8+CD28-CD57+ T cells, were also associated with decreased arterial distensibility. Among HIV-uninfected women, frequencies of activated or senescent T cells were not significantly associated with measures of carotid stiffness.
T cell activation and senescence are associated with arterial stiffness, suggesting that pro-inflammatory populations of T cells may produce functional or structural vascular changes in HIV-infected women.
Background and Purpose
Ultrasound measurements of arterial stiffness are associated with atherosclerosis risk factors, but limited data exist on their association with incident cardiovascular events. We evaluated the association of carotid ultrasound derived arterial stiffness measures with incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and ischemic stroke in the ARIC study.
Carotid arterial strain (CAS) and compliance (AC), distensibility (AD) and stiffness indices (SI), pressure-strain (Ep) and Young’s elastic moduli (YEM) were measured in 10,407 individuals using ultrasound. Hazard ratios for incident CHD (myocardial infarction [MI], fatal CHD, coronary revascularization) and stroke in minimally adjusted (age, sex, center, race) and fully adjusted models (minimally adjusted model + diabetes, height, weight, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, tobacco use, systolic blood pressure, antihypertensive medication use, and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) were calculated.
The mean age was 55.3 years. Over a mean follow up of 13.8 years, 1,267 incident CHD and 383 ischemic stroke events occurred. After full adjustment for risk factors and CIMT, all arterial stiffness parameters [CAS HR (95% confidence interval [CI]) =1.14 (1.02, 1.28); AD HR=1.19 (1.02, 1.39); SI HR=1.14 (1.04, 1.25); Ep HR=1.17 (1.06, 1.28); YEM HR=1.13 (1.03, 1.24)], except arterial compliance HR=1.02 (0.90, 1.16), were significantly associated with incident stroke but not with CHD.
After adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, ultrasound measures of carotid arterial stiffness are associated with incident ischemic stroke but not incident CHD events, despite that the 2 outcomes sharing similar risk factors.
arterial stiffness; carotid ultrasound; coronary heart disease; stroke; ARIC
Pericardial fat is a localized fat depot associated with coronary artery calcium and myocardial infarction. We hypothesized that genetic loci would be associated with pericardial fat independent of other body fat depots. Pericardial fat was quantified in 5,487 individuals of European ancestry from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Genotyping was performed using standard arrays and imputed to ∼2.5 million Hapmap SNPs. Each study performed a genome-wide association analysis of pericardial fat adjusted for age, sex, weight, and height. A weighted z-score meta-analysis was conducted, and validation was obtained in an additional 3,602 multi-ethnic individuals from the MESA study. We identified a genome-wide significant signal in our primary meta-analysis at rs10198628 near TRIB2 (MAF 0.49, p = 2.7×10-08). This SNP was not associated with visceral fat (p = 0.17) or body mass index (p = 0.38), although we observed direction-consistent, nominal significance with visceral fat adjusted for BMI (p = 0.01) in the Framingham Heart Study. Our findings were robust among African ancestry (n = 1,442, p = 0.001), Hispanic (n = 1,399, p = 0.004), and Chinese (n = 761, p = 0.007) participants from the MESA study, with a combined p-value of 5.4E-14. We observed TRIB2 gene expression in the pericardial fat of mice. rs10198628 near TRIB2 is associated with pericardial fat but not measures of generalized or visceral adiposity, reinforcing the concept that there are unique genetic underpinnings to ectopic fat distribution.
Pericardial fat is a localized fat depot associated with coronary artery calcium and myocardial infarction. To test whether genetic loci are associated with pericardial fat independent of other body fat depots, we measured pericardial fat in 5,487 individuals of European ancestry. After performing an unbiased screen using genome-wide association, we identified a genome-wide significant signal in our primary meta-analysis at rs10198628 near TRIB2 (MAF 0.49, p = 2.7×10-08). This SNP was not associated with visceral fat (p = 0.17) or body mass index (p = 0.38). Our findings were robust among multi-ethnic participants from the MESA study, with a combined p-value of 5.4E-14. We observed TRIB2 gene expression in the pericardial fat of mice. rs10198628 near TRIB2 is associated with pericardial fat but not measures of generalized or visceral adiposity, reinforcing the concept that there are unique genetic underpinnings to ectopic fat distribution.
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
Older women have a higher prevalence of systolic hypertension than do men; however, whether or not this relates to arterial properties, such as distensibility coefficient (DC), is not known. We examined whether the association of carotid artery DC with age differed by sex in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
B-mode ultrasound-measured carotid diameters and brachial pressures were obtained from 6359 participants (53% female, 38% white, 12% Chinese, 27% black, 22% Hispanic, aged 45–85 years) of the MESA baseline examination. The within-individual slopes of 2log(diameter) vs. blood pressure fit using mixed models (MM) are interpreted as the DC, and interaction terms are interpreted as differences in DC. The MM calculation allows for correction of the confounding caused by the association of age, sex, and race with blood pressure, the denominator in the calculation of DC.
DC was associated with age, sex, and race (all p<0.001). Women had a greater age-related lowering of DC compared to men (2.52×10−5 vs. 2.16×10−5/mm Hg lower DC per year of age, p=0.006). Mean diameter of carotid arteries was greater with age (p<0.001); this association also was significantly stronger in women compared to men (0.24% vs. 0.14% larger mean carotid diameter per year of age, p<0.001).
Greater stiffening and enlargement of arteries are seen in older women compared to older men. This implies that the afterload on the heart of older women is likely to be greater than that among older men.
Background and purpose
Aerobic exercise has been reported to be associated with reduced arterial stiffness. However, the intensity, duration, and frequency of aerobic exercise required to improve arterial stiffness have not been established. In addition, most reports base their conclusions on changes in pulse wave velocity, which is an indirect index of arterial stiffness. We studied the effects of short-term, intermittent, moderate-intensity exercise training on arterial stiffness based on measurements of the stiffness parameter (β) and pressure–strain elastic modulus (Ep), which are direct indices of regional arterial stiffness.
A total of 25 young healthy volunteers (18 men) were recruited. By use of ultrasonic diagnostic equipment we measured β and Ep of the carotid artery before and after 8 weeks of exercise training.
After exercise training, systolic pressure (Ps), diastolic pressure (Pd), pulse pressure, systolic arterial diameter (Ds), and diastolic arterial diameter (Dd) did not change significantly. However, the pulsatile change in diameter ((Ds − Dd)/Dd) increased significantly, and β and Ep decreased significantly.
For healthy young subjects, β and Ep were reduced by intermittent, moderate-intensity exercise training for only 8 weeks.
Arterial stiffness; Exercise; Echo tracking
Adults with Obesity (O) or Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) are at higher risk for stroke and myocardial infarction. Increased carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and stiffness are associated with these adverse outcomes. We compared carotid arteries in youth who were lean (L), O or T2DM.
Methods and Results
Carotid ultrasound for cIMT, Young’s Elastic Modulus (YEM) and Beta Stiffness Index (β), anthropometric, laboratory, and BP were measured in 182 L, 136 O, and 128 T2DM youth; 10-24 years. Mean differences were evaluated by ANOVA. Independent determinates of cIMT, YEM and β were determined with General Linear Models. CV risk factors worsened from L to O to T2DM. T2DM had greater cIMT than lean and O for the common carotid and bulb. For the internal, both O and T2DM were thicker than L. The carotid arteries were stiffer O & T2DM as compared to L. Determinates of cIMT were Group, Group*age interaction, gender, SBP for common (r2 =0.17); age, race, and SBP for bulb (r2 =0.16); age, race, gender, SBP and total cholesterol for the internal (r2 =0.21). Age, SBP and DBP were determinates of all measures of carotid stiffness with gender adding to YEM (r2=0.23); BMI z score, Group and Group*age interaction contributing to β (r2 =0.31, all p<0.0001).
Youth with Obesity and T2DM diabetes have abnormalities in carotid thickness and stiffness only partially explained by traditional CV risk factors. These vascular changes should alert health care practitioners to address CV risk factors early to prevent an increase in the incidence of stroke and myocardial infarction.
Carotid arteries; Elasticity; Obesity; Pediatrics; Risk factors
Atherosclerosis and vascular stiffness have been implicated in the pathogenesis of age‐related macular degeneration (AMD). The association of carotid artery stiffness, a measure of arterial elasticity reflecting early atherosclerosis, with early AMD, was examined in this study.
A population‐based, cross‐sectional study of 9954 middle‐aged people (age range 51–72 years). The presence of AMD signs was determined from fundus photographs according to the Wisconsin grading protocol. Carotid arterial stiffness was measured from high‐resolution ultrasonic echo tracking of the left common carotid artery, and was defined as an adjusted arterial diameter change (AADCμ). A smaller AADC reflects greater carotid artery stiffness. The associations of pulse pressure and carotid artery intima–media thickness (IMT) with early AMD signs were also analysed.
In the study population, 454 (4.6%) had early AMD. The mean (SD) AADC was 403 (127) μ. After adjusting for age, sex, race/centre, education, cigarette smoking, fasting glucose, lipid profile and inflammatory markers, a smaller AADC was found to be not associated with early AMD (odds ratio 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.71 to 1.25) or its component lesions. Other measures of arterial stiffness (pulse pressure) and atherosclerosis (carotid IMT) were also not associated with early AMD.
Carotid artery stiffness was not associated with signs of early AMD in this middle‐aged population. These data provide no evidence of a link between age‐related elastoid changes and early atherosclerotic processes in the carotid arteries and early AMD.
Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) is an endothelial membrane-associated anticoagulant protein. Higher circulating levels might reflect endothelial damage.
We hypothesized an association of higher total TFPI with subclinical atherosclerosis.
Total TFPI was measured in 1000 participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a cohort of 6814 men and women without clinical vascular disease, aged 45–84, from 4 ethnic groups. Subclinical atherosclerosis measures were coronary artery calcium (CAC), carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and ankle-brachial index (ABI).
TFPI was higher with age, male gender, higher LDL-cholesterol, smoking and diabetes, but not ethnicity. Adjusting for risk factors, TFPI in the 4th versus 1st quartile was associated with a 1.2-fold increased risk of detectable CAC (95% CI 1.0–1.4), a 2.1-fold increased risk of CAC >400 Agatston units (95% CI 1.1–4.0) and a 1.6-fold (95% CI 1.1–2.5) increased risk of internal carotid IMT above the 80th percentile, but not with external carotid IMT or low ABI. Findings were consistent across ethnic groups.
In this diverse population, higher total TFPI was associated with prevalent CAC (limited to levels >400 units), and elevated internal carotid IMT, independent of other factors. Higher TFPI may indicate endothelial dysfunction. Further study is needed of TFPI and progression of atherosclerosis.
atherosclerosis; coronary heart disease; tissue factor pathway inhibitor; risk factor
To examine the correlations between intra-hepatic and intra-thoracic (total, epicardial, and pericardial) fat deposition with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and subclinical atherosclerosis burden in healthy, recently postmenopausal women.
Women screened for the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (mean age 52.9 years) who underwent electron beam or multidetector computed tomography (CT) imaging for the quantification of intra-hepatic fat and thoracic adipose tissue, and coronary artery calcification (CAC) were included (n= 650).
Higher levels of intra-hepatic and thoracic fat were each associated with CVD risk markers. After adjustment for BMI, the associations for intra-hepatic fat with hs-CRP and insulin persisted (r= 0.21 and 0.19, respectively; P<0.001), while those between thoracic fat indices and lipids persisted (r for total thoracic fat with HDL, LDL, and triglycerides= −0.16, 0.11, and 0.11, respectively, P<0.05). Total thoracic fat was associated with CAC after initial multivariable adjustment (odds ratio [OR] of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th vs. 1st quartile and [95% confidence intervals]: 0.8 [0.4–1.6], 1.5 [0.8–2.9], and 1.8 [1.0–3.4]; P for linear trend=0.017) and was only slightly attenuated after additional adjustment for BMI. Associations between total thoracic fat and CVD risk markers and CAC appeared due slightly more to associations with epicardial than pericardial fat.
While hepatic fat is related to hs-CRP and insulin, cardiac fat is associated with subclinical atherosclerosis as demonstrated by CAC. Cardiac fat may represent a useful marker for increased CVD risk beyond the standard adiposity measures of BMI and WC.
coronary calcification; ectopic fat; cardiac fat; hepatic fat; risk factors; women
Impaired vascular function occurs early in atherogenesis. Brachial flow mediated dilatation (FMD) is a non-invasive measure of vascular function and may be an important marker of preclinical atherosclerosis. Data on the association between FMD and carotid plaque in multi-ethnic populations are limited. The objective of this study was to determine whether endothelial dysfunction is independently associated with carotid plaque in a community of northern Manhattan.
In the population-based Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), high-resolution B-mode ultrasound images of the brachial and carotid arteries were obtained in 643 stroke-free subjects (mean age 66 years; 55% women; 65% Caribbean-Hispanic, 17% African-American, 16% Caucasian). Brachial FMD was measured during reactive hyperemia. Maximum carotid plaque thickness (MCPT) was measured at the peak plaque prominence.
The mean brachial FMD was 5.78 ± 3.83 %. Carotid plaque was present in 339 (53%) subjects. The mean MCPT was 1.68 ± 0.82 mm, and the 75th percentile was 2.0 mm. Reduced FMD was significantly associated with increased MCPT. After adjusting for demographics, vascular risk factors, and education, each percent of FMD decrease was associated with a significant 0.02 mm increase in MCPT (p = 0.028). In a dichotomous adjusted model, blunted FMD was associated with an increased risk of MCPT ≥ 2.0 mm (OR, 1.11 for every 1% decrease in FMD; 95% CI, 1.03–1.19).
Decreased brachial FMD is independently associated with carotid plaque. Non-invasive evaluation of endothelial dysfunction may be a useful marker of preclinical atherosclerosis and help to individualize cardiovascular risk assessment beyond traditional risk factors.
Race/ethnic differences in carotid arterial function and structure exist among those with cerebrovascular disease, but whether differences persist among healthy populations is unknown. Our objective was to investigate differences in carotid artery diameter and stiffness between race/ethnic groups, and examine whether these race/ethnic differences were age-dependent.
Carotid diameters were assessed by B-mode ultrasound among 1536 participants from the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), and carotid stiffness metrics were calculated. We used multivariable linear regression models to determine the relationship between race/ethnicity and both carotid arterial stiffness and carotid diastolic diameter.
Mean participant age was 70 ± 9 years (Hispanics=68 ± 8, blacks=72 ± 9, and whites=74 ± 9, p<0.0001). Mean DDIAM was 6.2 ± 1.0mm (Hispanics=6.2 ± 0.9mm, blacks=6.3 ± 1.0mm, and whites=6.3 ± 1.0mm, p<0.005) and mean STIFF was 8.7 ± 6.3 (Hispanics=8.5 ± 5.7, blacks=9.2 ± 6.2 and whites=8.9 ± 6.9, p<0.02). In a model that adjusted for sociodemographics and vascular risk factors including hypertension, diabetes, dislipidemia, renal function, physical acticity and a history of known coronary artery diseases; age was positively associated with greater DDIAM in Hispanics (p<0.0001) but not among blacks or whites. Older age was associated with greater stiffness among Hispanics (p<0.0001) and blacks (p<0.003), but not among whites.
We found race/ethnic differences in the association between age and arterial stiffness and diameter, including age-dependent arterial dilation observed in Hispanics that was not observed among blacks or whites.
arterial stiffness; atherosclerosis; diastolic diameter; carotid artery; race/ethnicity; carotid ultrasound
Arterial stiffness leads to left ventricular (LV) mass through non-atherosclerotic pathways in mice. In humans, a high ankle brachial index (ABI) indicates stiff peripheral arteries, and is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. Whether high ABI is associated with LV mass in humans, and whether this may reflect consequences of arterial stiffness, atherosclerosis, or both is unknown.
Among 4,972 MESA participants without clinical CVD, we used linear regression to evaluate the association of low (< 0.90) and high (>1.40 or incompressible) ABI with LV mass by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Intermediate ABIs served as the reference category. To determine the effect of subclinical atherosclerosis, models were adjusted for common and internal carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and log-transformed coronary artery calcification (Ln[CAC+1]).
Compared to subjects with intermediate ABI, LV mass was higher with either low (2.70g/m2 higher, 95% CI 0.65–4.75) or high ABI (6.84 g/m2 higher, 95% CI 3.2–10.47) after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors, kidney function, and CRP. However, further adjustment for cIMT and CAC substantially attenuated the association of low ABI with LVMI (1.24 g/m2 higher, 95% CI −0.84–3.33), whereas the association of high ABI was minimally altered (6.01 g/m2 higher, 95% CI 2.36–9.67).
High ABI is associated with greater LV mass; an association that is not attenuated with adjustment for subclinical atherosclerosis in non-peripheral arterial beds. High ABI may lead to greater LV mass through non-atherosclerotic pathways.
vascular stiffness; medial arterial calcification; left ventricular mass; heart failure; cardiovascular disease
Background and purpose
Adiponectin is an insulin-sensitizing plasma protein expressed in adipose tissue and suggested to play a role in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Data are lacking on the relationship between adiponectin and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in ethnically heterogeneous populations. We examined the relationship between adiponectin and IMT, a marker of atherosclerosis, in a multi-ethnic cohort study of stroke risk factors.
Participants were from the Northern Manhattan Study (N=1522, mean age 66±9 years, 60% female, 20% black, 18% white, 60% Hispanic). Adiponectin was measured from baseline plasma samples and IMT was assessed by high-resolution B-mode carotid ultrasound. Regression models were used to examine the association between adiponectin, assessed continuously and in quartiles, and IMT, controlling for demographics and vascular risk factors.
The mean adiponectin level was 10.3±5.2 μg/ml (median=9.2, range=2.3-53.3), and the mean IMT was 0.91±0.08 mm. Adiponectin was inversely associated with IMT, even after controlling for demographics and vascular risk factors. Individuals in the first quartile of adiponectin had mean IMT that was on average 0.02 mm greater than those in the top quartile. The relationship between adiponectin and IMT appeared to be stronger among those with diabetes.
Our findings suggest that low adiponectin is associated with increased IMT in a multi-ethnic cohort and support a protective role for adiponectin in atherosclerosis.
Adiponectin; carotid artery; intima-media thickness; atherosclerosis; epidemiology
Hysterectomy, with or without oophorectomy is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk due, in part, to an adverse CVD risk factor profile. Large artery stiffening, a biomarker of vascular aging, increases the risk for CVD. We determined whether hysterectomy with or without bilateral oophorectomy (BLO) is associated with arterial stiffening in healthy postmenopausal women.
We conducted a cross-sectional study including estrogen-deficient postmenopausal women who had a hysterectomy with ovarian preservation (N= 24; 59±1 year, mean±SE) or with BLO (N=21; 58±2 year), and had no hysterectomy/no BLO (N=58; 58±1 year). Arterial stiffness (arterial compliance and beta stiffness index) was measured by ultrasonography of the carotid artery.
Carotid artery compliance was lower in women with hysterectomy alone and in women with hysterectomy with BLO compared to women with no hysterectomy (0.66±0.03 and 0.71±0.06 versus 0.89±0.03 mm2/mmHg×10−1, respectively, both P<0.05). There were no differences in traditional CVD risk factors (i.e., adiposity, blood pressure and fasted lipids and lipoproteins, glucose and insulin) between the groups. After adjustment for age, menopause duration, prior menopausal hormone therapy duration, parity, waist-to-hip ratio, systolic blood pressure and sex-hormone binding globulin, hysterectomy status remained a significant predictor of arterial compliance.
These results indicate that hysterectomy status (with or without BLO) is associated with greater arterial stiffening in estrogen-deficient postmenopausal women. The greater arterial stiffening with hysterectomy was not related to an adverse CVD risk profile. Large artery stiffening may be an important mechanism by which hysterectomy increases the risk of CVD in postmenopausal women.
vascular function; aging; menopause
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.
This work was carried out in a Uruguayan (South American) population to characterize aging-associated physiological arterial changes. Parameters markers of subclinical atherosclerosis and that associate age-related changes were evaluated in healthy people. A conservative approach was used and people with nonphysiological and pathological conditions were excluded. Then, we excluded subjects with (a) cardiovascular (CV) symptoms, (b) CV disease, (c) diabetes mellitus or renal failure, and (d) traditional CV risk factors (other than age and gender). Subjects (n = 388) were submitted to non-invasive vascular studies (gold-standard techniques), to evaluate (1) common (CCA), internal, and external carotid plaque prevalence, (2) CCA intima-media thickness and diameter, (3) CCA stiffness (percentual pulsatility, compliance, distensibility, and stiffness index), (4) aortic stiffness (carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity), and (5) peripheral and central pressure wave-derived parameters. Age groups: ≤20, 21–30, 31–40, 41–50, 51–60, 61–70, and 71–80 years old. Age-related structural and functional vascular parameters profiles were obtained and analyzed considering data from other populations. The work has the strength of being the first, in Latin America, that uses an integrative approach to characterize vascular aging-related changes. Data could be used to define vascular aging and abnormal or disease-related changes.
Many studies have attempted to develop relatively simple and easy noninvasive measurements of atherosclerosis (NIMA), and each NIMA assesses different atherosclerotic properties. We, therefore, investigated the association between metabolic syndrome (MetS) components and different NIMAs.
This study included 1,132 Korean subjects over 20 years of age who had visited a Health Promotion Center in Korea. Carotid injury (increased carotid intima-media thickness or plaques) was evaluated by ultrasonography and arterial stiffness by brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity. The MetS components were assessed according to the Asian criteria of the American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Both arterial stiffness and carotid injury gradually deteriorated with increase in the number of MetS components. Arterial stiffness and carotid injury were associated with different MetS components, each of which had varying impact. After adjustment for all possible confounders such as age, sex, and lifestyle, elevated blood pressure (BP) was found to have the strongest association with arterial stiffness, whereas central obesity, impaired fasting plasma glucose, and elevated BP had comparable connection with carotid atherosclerosis.
Individual MetS components were related with subclinical atherosclerosis in different ways. Elevated BP showed the strongest association with arterial stiffness, while central obesity, impaired fasting plasma glucose, and elevated BP showed good correlation with carotid atherosclerosis.
Vascular Stiffness; Carotid Artery Injuries; Metabolic Risk
Background and purpose
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may have an increased risk for cardiovascular-related events, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. We tested the hypothesis that carotid arterial stiffness was higher among persons taking HAART compared to HAART-naïve and HIV-uninfected persons.
Between 2004 and 2006, we performed high resolution B-mode ultrasound on 2,789 HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected participants of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS; 1865 women) and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS; 924 men) and determined carotid arterial distensibility, a direct measure of carotid arterial stiffness. We used generalized estimating equations to evaluate the association between distensibility and HIV infection, CD4+ cell count, and exposure to HAART adjusted for demographic, behavioral, and clinical characteristics.
In multivariable analysis, distensibility was 4.3% lower (95% confidence interval (CI): -7.4% to -1.1%) among HIV-infected versus uninfected participants. Among HIV-infected participants with fewer than 200 CD4+ cells, distensibility was 10.5% lower (95% CI: -14.5% to -6.2%) than that among HIV-uninfected participants, and this effect did not differ significantly by cohort or race. Concurrent HAART use was independently associated with lower distensibility among MACS participants but not among WIHS participants.
Our finding that advanced HIV-related immunosuppression was associated with increased carotid arterial stiffness independent from the effects of traditional atherosclerosis risk factors suggests that the etiologic mechanism underlying reports of an increased cardiovascular disease risk among HIV-infected individuals might involve HIV-related immunosuppression leading to vascular dysfunction and arterial stiffening.
atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; carotid arteries; HIV; epidemiology