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1.  LDL-C/HDL-C Ratio Predicts Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Progression Better Than HDL-C or LDL-C Alone 
Journal of Lipids  2011;2011:549137.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) are strong predictors of atherosclerosis. Statin-induced changes in the ratio of LDL-C to HDL-C (LDL-C/HDL-C) predicted atherosclerosis progression better than LDL-C or HDL-C alone. However, the best predictor of subclinical atherosclerosis remains unknown. Our objective was to investigate this issue by measuring changes in carotid intima-media thickness (IMT). A total of 1,920 subjects received health examinations in 1999, and were followed up in 2007. Changes in IMT (follow-up IMT/baseline IMT × 100) were measured by ultrasonography. Our results showed that changes in IMT after eight years were significantly related to HDL-C (inversely, P < 0.05) and to LDL-C/HDL-C ratio (P < 0.05). When the LDL-C/HDL-C ratios were divided into quartiles, analysis of covariance showed that increases in the ratio were related to IMT progression (P < 0.05). This prospective study demonstrated the LDL-C/HDL-C ratio is a better predictor of IMT progression than HDL-C or LDL-C alone.
PMCID: PMC3136137  PMID: 21773051
2.  Risk Factors for the Progression of Intima-Media Thickness of Carotid Arteries: A 2-Year Follow-Up Study in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes & Metabolism Journal  2013;37(5):365-374.
Intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries is known to have a positive correlation with the risk of cardiovascular disease. This study was designed to identify risk factors affecting the progression of carotid IMT in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Patients with newly diagnosed T2DM with carotid IMT measurements were enrolled, and their clinical data and carotid IMT results at baseline and 2 years later were compared.
Of the 171 patients, 67.2% of males and 50.8% of females had abnormal baseline IMT of the left common carotid artery. At baseline, systolic blood pressure, body mass index and smoking in male participants, and fasting plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin levels in females were significantly higher in patients with abnormal IMT than in those with normal IMT. Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels in males and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels in females at the 2-year follow-up were significantly different between the nonprogression and the progression groups. Reduction of the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) 10-year coronary heart disease (CHD) risk score after 2 years was generally higher in the nonprogression group than the progression group.
LDL-C levels in males and HDL-C levels in females at the 2-year follow-up were significantly different between participants with and without progression of carotid IMT. Furthermore, a reduction in the UKPDS 10-year CHD risk score appeared to delay the advancement of atherosclerosis. Therefore, the importance of establishing the therapeutic goal of lipid profiles should be emphasized to prevent the progression of carotid IMT in newly diagnosed T2DM patients.
PMCID: PMC3816138  PMID: 24199166
Atherosclerosis; Carotid artery intima-media thickness; Diabetes mellitus type 2; Risk factors
3.  Associations of Cardiovascular Risk Factors with Two Surrogate Markers of Subclinical Atherosclerosis: Endothelial Function and Carotid Intima Media Thickness 
Atherosclerosis  2011;217(2):437-440.
Endothelial function and carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) were investigated in a cohort of 54 healthy adults without known cardiovascular disease.
Pulse wave amplitude was determined with peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT) to obtain the reactive hyperemia (RH)-PAT ratio. Ultrasound was used to determine cIMT.
cIMT and RH-PAT were significantly associated (rho = −0.35, P = 0.02) in univariate analysis. RH-PAT was significantly associated with age, triglycerides, fasting glucose, HDL, WHR, waist circumference and VAT. cIMT was associated with age, smoking history, fasting glucose, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and LDL. In multivariate regression analyses, triglyceride level (P = 0.04) remained a significant determinant of RH-PAT whereas systolic blood pressure (P = 0.02) and smoking pack-year history (P = 0.046) were significant determinants of cIMT.
Determinants of cIMT and RH-PAT were different, dominated by triglyceride and abdominal adiposity measures for RH-PAT but traditional risk factors including blood pressure, glucose, smoking and LDL for cIMT.
PMCID: PMC3146552  PMID: 21570076
Endothelial function; carotid intima media thickness; atherosclerosis
4.  Clinical Implications of Discordance Between LDL Cholesterol and LDL Particle Number 
Journal of clinical lipidology  2011;5(2):105-113.
The amount of cholesterol per LDL particle is variable and related in part to particle size, with smaller particles carrying less cholesterol. This variability causes concentrations of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and LDL particles (LDL-P) to be discordant in many individuals.
LDL-P measured by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, calculated LDL-C, and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) were assessed at baseline in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a community-based cohort of 6814 persons free of clinical CVD at entry and followed for CVD events (n=319 during 5.5-year follow-up). Discordance, defined as values of LDL-P and LDL-C differing by ≥ 12 percentile units to give equal-sized concordant and discordant subgroups, was related to CVD events and to carotid IMT in models predicting outcomes for a 1 SD difference in LDL-C or LDL-P, adjusted for age, sex and race.
LDL-C and LDL-P were associated with incident CVD overall: hazard ratios (HR [95% CI]) 1.20 [1.08, 1.34] and 1.32 [1.19, 1.47], respectively, but for those with discordant levels, only LDL-P was associated with incident CVD (HR: 1.45 [1.19, 1.78]) (LDL-C HR: 1.07 [0.88, 1.30])). IMT also tracked with LDL-P rather than LDL-C, i.e., adjusted mean IMT of 958, 932, and 917 μm in the LDL-P > LDL-C discordant, concordant, and LDL-P < LDL-C discordant subgroups, respectively, with the difference persisting after adjustment for LDL-C (p=0.002) but not LDL-P (p=0.60).
For individuals with discordant LDL-C and LDL-P levels, the LDL-attributable atherosclerotic risk is better indicated by LDL-P.
PMCID: PMC3070150  PMID: 21392724
LDL particle number; LDL cholesterol; cardiovascular disease risk; NMR; lipoproteins
5.  Effect of intensive multifactorial treatment on the intima-media thickness of large arteries in patients with new-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus*  
Objective: To quantify the changes in blood glucose, blood lipids, blood pressure, and the intima-media thickness (IMT) of large arteries in patients with new-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus who received either intensive multifactorial treatment or conventional treatment. Methods: Two-hundred and ten patients with new-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus were randomly assigned to two groups: an intensive treatment group (n=110) and a conventional treatment group (n=100). Fasting blood glucose (FBG), glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), blood pressure, blood lipids [total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein C (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein C (HDL-C)], and IMTs of large arteries (carotid, iliac, and femoral arteries) were determined before and at one and two years after starting treatment. The patients in the conventional treatment group received routine diabetes management in our outpatient department. Targets were established for patients in the intensive treatment group. Their blood glucose, blood lipids, and blood pressure levels were regularly monitored and therapeutic regimens were adjusted for those whose measurements did not meet the target values until all the parameters met the established targets. Within-group and between-group differences were evaluated. Results: A significantly greater percentage of patients in the intensive treatment group had LDL-C levels that reached the target value one year after starting treatment than those in the conventional treatment group (52.04% vs. 33.33%, P<0.05). No significant differences were found between groups for FBG, HbA1c, blood pressure, TG, TC, or HDL-C. The percentages of patients with TG (51.02% vs. 34.48%), TC (52.04% vs. 33.33%), and LDL-C (61.22% vs. 43.67%) who met the respective target values in the intensive treatment group were all significantly higher than the corresponding percentages in the conventional treatment group two years after starting treatment (P<0.05). There were no significant differences in the percentages of patients with FBG, HbA1c, and blood pressure values meeting the respective targets between the groups at the two-year follow-up. One year after starting treatment, the LDL-C level, diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and the IMTs of the femoral and iliac arteries of the intensive treatment group were significantly lower compared to those of the conventional treatment group (P<0.05), although there was no significant difference in other metabolic parameters. Two years after starting treatment, the TC, LDL-C, blood pressure [systolic blood pressure (SBP) and DBP], and the IMTs of the carotid and femoral arteries of the intensive treatment group were significantly lower than those of the conventional treatment group (P<0.05). No significant differences in other metabolic parameters existed between the two groups two years after starting treatment. Conclusions: Early comprehensive and intensive treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus can delay or even reverse the increase in IMT of large arteries. Lowering blood pressure and blood lipid regulation in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus have great significance in decreasing the risk of diabetes-related macrovascular lesions.
PMCID: PMC3348229  PMID: 22556176
Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Intensive treatment; Intima-media thickness (IMT); Large arteries
6.  Changes in Carotid Intima-Media Thickness During the Cardiac Cycle: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Common carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT), a measure of subclinical cardiovascular disease, changes during the cardiac cycle. The magnitude of this effect and its implications have not been well studied.
Methods and Results
Far-wall IMT measurements of the right common carotid artery were measured at end diastole and peak systole in 5633 individuals from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Multivariable regression models were generated with end-diastolic IMT, peak-systolic IMT, and change in IMT during the cardiac cycle as dependent variables and traditional cardiovascular risk factors as independent variables. The average age of our population was 61.9 (45 to 84) years. Average change in carotid IMT during the cardiac cycle was 0.041 mm (95% confidence interval: 0.039 to 0.042 mm), with a mean IMT of 0.68 mm. End-diastolic IMT and peak-systolic IMT were similarly associated with risk factors. In a fully adjusted model, change in carotid IMT during the cardiac cycle was associated with ethnicity and pulse pressure (P=0.001) and not age, sex, or other risk factors. Chinese and Hispanics had less of a change in IMT than did non-Hispanic whites. With peak-systolic IMT reference values used as normative data, 31.3% more individuals were classified as being in the upper quartile of IMT and at high risk for cardiovascular disease than would be expected when IMT is measured at end diastole.
Measurable differences in IMT are seen during the cardiac cycle. This affects the interpretation of IMT measurements used for cardiovascular risk assessment, given published normative data with IMT measured at peak systole.
Clinical Trial Registration
URL: Unique identifier: NCT00063440. (J Am Heart Assoc. 2012;1:e001420 doi: 10.1161/JAHA.112.001420.)
PMCID: PMC3487346  PMID: 23130162
atherosclerosis; blood pressure; carotid arteries; diastole; epidemiology; risk factors; systole; ultrasonics
7.  Prevention of atherosclerosis in patients living with HIV 
Investigational product:
Rosuvastatin (Crestor®; Astra Zeneca).
Active ingredients:
Rosuvastatin (5 mg).
Study title:
Prevention of Atherosclerosis in Patients Living with HIV.
Phase of study:
Phase III.
Primary aim: To assess whether rosuvastatin therapy could slow the progression of the carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT; as measured by the change in the mean IMT of the near and far walls of the distal common carotid arteries) over 2 years in HIV-infected patients (HIV-IP).
Secondary aims: To assess whether rosuvastatin therapy could reduce highly sensitive C reactive protein (hs-CRP) inflammatory marker that is increased in HIV-IP.To assess the effect of rosuvastatin therapy on serum lipid levels (total cholesterol [TC], low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol and triglycerides [TG]) and apolipoproteins (APO A1, APO B and APO B/A1).To assess the safety of rosuvastatin in HIV-IP through the evaluation of clinical laboratory analyses (liver function tests and creatine kinase) and adverse events (AEs).
Study design:
Two-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study.
Planned sample size:
320 HIV-IP.
Summary of eligibility criteria:
HIV-IP who are aged between 30 and 60 years, with a CD4 count. greater than 200 cells/mm3. Patients must be stable on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) for at least 12 months and have a 10-year CVD risk of less than 20% (using the Framingham risk score).
Number of study centers:
Duration of treatment:
Two years (5 mg rosuvastatin or placebo once daily).
Dose and route of administration:
Oral rosuvastatin (5 mg) once daily.
The incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in HIV-IP is at least three times higher than in the general population and further increases each year with combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART). The carotid atherosclerosis progression rate is 10 times higher in HIV-IP than in uninfected individuals. The aim of this study is to assess whether therapy with 5 mg rosuvastatin could: 1) Slow the progression in the mean IMT of the distal common carotid arteries over two years in HIV-IP.2) Change the concentration in the inflammatory marker – hs-CRP, which is increased in HIV-IP.3) Change the concentrations of TC, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, TG, apolipoproteins (APO) B, APO A1 and APO B/A1.4) Be administered safely in the study population.
Pharmacological intervention with rosuvastatin will be evaluated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial in HIV-IP treated with cART not matching the published selection criteria for lipid-lowering therapy. For the first time, this study will investigate anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic effects of a pharmacological lipid-lowering agent in HIV-IP that may lead to the reduction of CVD.
PMCID: PMC2672452  PMID: 19436663
rosuvastatin; atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; HIV; clinical trial protocol
8.  Levels of Oxidized LDL and Advanced Glycation End Products–Modified LDL in Circulating Immune Complexes Are Strongly Associated With Increased Levels of Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Its Progression in Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2011;60(2):582-589.
High cholesterol levels in circulating immune complexes (IC), surrogate markers of modified LDL, are associated with increased carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and cardiovascular events in type 1 diabetes. Different modifications of LDL are involved in IC formation, but which of these are predictive of vascular events is not known. Therefore, we measured oxidized LDL (oxLDL), advanced glycation end products–modified LDL (AGE-LDL), and malondialdehyde-modified LDL (MDA-LDL) in IC and determined their relationship with increased carotid IMT and compared the strength of the association with that observed with conventional risk factors.
Levels of oxLDL, AGE-LDL, and MDA-LDL were measured in circulating IC isolated from sera of 479 patients of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) cohort, collected at baseline. Internal and common carotid IMT were measured 8 and 14 years later by DCCT/EDIC.
OxLDL, AGE-LDL, and MDA-LDL levels in circulating IC were significantly correlated with diabetes duration, BMI, and lipid and blood pressure, but not with age. Multivariate logistic regression models indicated that individuals in the highest versus lowest quartile of oxLDL and AGE-LDL in IC had a 6.11-fold [confidence interval (CI) 2.51–14.8] and a 6.4-fold (CI 2.53–16.2) increase in the odds of having high carotid IMT, respectively, after adjusting for conventional risk factors. Parallel analyses resulted in odds ratios of 2.62 (CI 1.24, 5.55) for LDL-C, 1.45 (CI 0.69, 3.03) for diastolic blood pressure, and 2.33 (CI 1.09, 4.99) for A1C.
OxLDL and AGE-LDL in circulating IC were significantly associated with progression and increased levels of carotid IMT in type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3028359  PMID: 20980456
9.  Contrast of the impact of multiple cardiovascular risk factors on the femoral and carotid intima-media thickness in asymptomatic young adults: The Bogalusa Heart Study 
Atherosclerosis  2011;216(2):359-364.
Impact of multiple cardiovascular (CV) risk factors on the intima-media thickness (IMT) of femoral and carotid artery segments measured simultaneously has not been studied in asymptomatic adults. This study examined the impact of multiple CV risk factors on the IMT in asymptomatic adults.
Femoral and carotid IMT were measured by B-mode ultrasonography in 1080 asymptomatic subjects (aged 24–43 years) of the Bogalusa Heart Study.
In multivariate analyses, systolic blood pressure, age, male, total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio and smoking were common independent predictor variables for the femoral and carotid IMT. Systolic blood pressure followed by age were the major determinant risk factors for the IMT of all arterial segments except carotid bulb for which age was the major predictor. The independent variables listed explained 11% of the variability in femoral IMT, 28% in common carotid, 18% in carotid bulb, 10% in internal carotid and 27% in composite carotid segments. Mean IMT increased with increasing number of risk factors in all arterial segments; p for trend = 0.003 for femoral and 0.001 for all carotid segments.
The observed deleterious trend of increasing IMT of the femoral and different segments of the carotid artery with increasing number of CV risk factors provide evidence of silent systemic atherosclerosis in asymptomatic young adults. These findings underscore the importance of multiple for risk factors profiling in early life. Studies of the femoral and carotid IMT may be helpful along with measurements of risk factors for evaluation of asymptomatic atherosclerotic disease.
PMCID: PMC3110625  PMID: 21376319
femoral and carotid artery; intima-media thickness; risk factors; ultrasonography; arterial disease
10.  Gender Divergence on the Impact of Multiple Cardiovascular Risk Factors on the Femoral Artery Intima-media Thickness in Asymptomatic Young Adults: The Bogalusa Heart Study 
Gender divergence on the impact of multiple cardiovascular (CV) risk factors on the femoral artery intima-media thickness (IMT) has not studied in a biracial (black-white) community based asymptomatic young adults.
Femoral IMT was measured by B-mode ultrasonography in 1080 individuals (aged 24- 43 years; 71%white, 43% male) enrolled in the Bogalusa Heart Study.
Femoral IMT showed a gender difference (males > females, p= 0.001), but no racial difference. In a multivariate model, age, cigarette smoking, systolic blood pressure and total to HDL cholesterol ratio related independently, in that order, to IMT in females; age and LDL cholesterol in males. In females, mean IMT increased with increasing number of risk factors defined as values above the age- race- and gender- specific 75th percentile of systolic blood pressure, waist circumference, total to HDL cholesterol ratio and insulin along with positive smoking status (p for trend = 0.001), with respective mean IMT (mm) values of 0.61, 0.65, 0.72, and 0.77, for 0, 1-2, 3 and 4-5 risk factors. There was no such significant trend in males.
Although males vs females had thicker IMT, the observed increasing trend of femoral IMT with increasing number of risk factors in asymptomatic young females suggests that females may be relatively more susceptible to the burden of multiple risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3179814  PMID: 21681071
Femoral artery; intima-media thickness; risk factors; gender difference; ultrasonography
11.  Effects of Fluvastatin on Plasma Levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein Subfractions, Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein, and Soluble Adhesion Molecules: A Twenty-Four–Week, Open-Label, Dose-Increasing Study 
Background: Statins not only lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, but also have several antiarteriosclerotic effects (eg, decreasing arterial inflammation and arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation, as well as antioxidant effects). The relationship between the dose of statin and its effects on plasma LDL levels and other arteriosclerosis-related effects remains to be clarified.
Objective: We investigated the effect of a statin, fluvastatin, on plasma levels of lipoprotein subfractions, oxidized LDL (Ox-LDL), Ox-LDL immunoglobulin G (IgG), soluble adhesion molecules, reverse cholesterol transport (ie, transport of esterified high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-C] to triglyceride [TG]-rich lipoproteins by cholesteryl ester transfer protein [CETP] and reduction of plasma HDL-C levels), and on the intima-medial thickness (IMT) of the common carotid arteries.
Methods: Patients with nonfamilial type 2 hyperlipoproteinemia were eligible for this open-label, dose-increasing study. Fluvastatin 20 mg/d was administered for the first 12 weeks, and the daily dose was increased to 40 mg for the subsequent 12 weeks. Patients were examined at baseline and after 12 and 24 weeks of treatment. Plasma lipoprotein subfractions were determined using sequential ultracentrifugation at 100,000g. The plasma levels of Ox-LDL, Ox-LDL-IgG, CETP, and soluble adhesion molecules were measured using sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The maximum IMT of the common carotid arteries was measured using sonography.
Results: The plasma levels of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and apolipoprotein (apo) B were reduced by 25% and 17%, respectively (P<0.001 for both), after 12 weeks of treatment with fluvastatin 20 mg/d; no further significant reductions in LDL were observed after increasing the daily dose to 40 mg. Fluvastatin 20 mg/d for 12 weeks decreased plasma levels of intermediate-density lipoprotein cholesterol, LDL-I-C, LDL-II-C, and LDL-III-C by 25% (P<0.01), 30% (P<0.001), 23% (P<0.01), and 20% (P = 0.02), respectively. No further significant reductions in these levels were observed after increasing the daily dose to 40 mg. The plasma levels of Ox-LDL decreased in a similar fashion to the plasma levels of LDL-C (P<0.001). However, plasma levels of Ox-LDL-IgG and soluble P-selectin did not decrease after 12 weeks of fluvastatin 20 mg/d, but did decrease significantly (both 22%) after the next 12 weeks of treatment with fluvastatin 40 mg/d (P<0.05). Plasma levels of intercellular adhesion molecule 1and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and CETP mass were not altered by fluvastatin treatment. Significant changes in maximum IMT of the common carotid arteries were not seen throughout 24 weeks of fluvastatin treatment.
Conclusions: In this patient population, fluvastatin 20 mg/d was sufficient to significantly reduce plasma levels of LDL, the 3 LDL subfractions, and Ox-LDL, but was not sufficient to reduce plasma levels of Ox-LDL-IgG and soluble P-selectin. It is important to check not only plasma lipoprotein levels but also other factors relating to arteriosclerosis during treatment with statins for the prevention and treatment of arteriosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4052990  PMID: 24944371
fluvastatin; lipoprotein subfractions; oxidized LDL; adhesion molecules; reverse cholesterol transport; carotid arteriosclerosis
12.  High urinary sodium is associated with increased carotid intima-media thickness in normotensive overweight and obese adults 
Increased dietary sodium has been reported to increase cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, perhaps through blood pressure (BP) independent vascular remodeling. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is an accepted measure of structural vascular remodeling and a strong predictor of CVD. This study aimed to determine whether urinary sodium is positively associated with carotid IMT in normotensive overweight and obese adults.
We evaluated baseline data from 258 participants in the Slow Adverse Vascular Effects (SAVE) Clinical Trial. Urinary sodium was measured from one 24-hour urine collection from each individual. Carotid IMT was measured using high resolution B-mode ultrasonography. Participants were categorized into quartiles of urinary sodium.
There was a significant positive trend with greater IMT associated with increasing urinary sodium quartile in univariate linear regression (P=0.047). This trend was significant when adjusting for age, sex, race, and systolic BP (SBP) (P=0.03) as well as in a fully adjusted model (P=0.04). In pairwise comparisons, the highest urinary sodium quartile had a significantly greater mean IMT (0.62 mm) than the lowest urinary sodium quartile (0.59 mm) after adjustment for age, sex, race, and SBP (P=0.04). This comparison lost significance after the addition of BMI.
In our community-based sample of normotensive overweight and obese adults, we observed a significant positive trend in carotid IMT with increasing quartile of urinary sodium. If the ongoing clinical trial confirms this relationship between sodium and carotid IMT, it would lend support to efforts to decrease sodium intake in overweight and obese individuals.
PMCID: PMC2976842  PMID: 20508622
sodium; obesity; vascular remodeling; carotid IMT
13.  Isolated office hypertension: association with target organ damage and cardiovascular risk indices. 
BACKGROUND: Isolated office hypertension (IOH) has been accepted as a benign condition by some researchers, whereas others believe that it is associated with cardiovascular abnormalities and increased cardiovascular risk. The aim of this present study was to evaluate the effects of IOH on target organ damage and cardiovascular risk indices. METHODS: Arterial blood pressure (BP) measured in the office and by 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure measurement (ABMP), carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), left ventricular mass index (LVMI), cardiothoracic index (CTI), duration of QTc, 24-hour microalbuminuria, fibrinogen, C-reactive protein (CRP), total cholesterol, low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels were evaluated. Thirty-three subjects with IOH (office BP > or = 140/90 mmHg and daytime ambulatory BP <135/85 mmHg), 17 patients with sustained hypertension (office BP > or = 140/90 mmHg and daytime ambulatory BP > or = 135/85 mmHg), and 17 normotensive control subjects were recruited in the study. The three groups were matched for age, sex and body mass index. RESULTS: CIMT was greater in patients with IOH than in normotensive subjects, and it was significantly lower than that of sustained hypertension patients. Significantly higher LVMI was determined in subjects with IOH compared to normotensive subjects. CTI, QTc, microalbuminuria, fibrinogen, CRP, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels did not differ significantly among the three groups. CONCLUSIONS: IOH causes significant target organ damage and should not be regarded as a benign condition.
PMCID: PMC2569228  PMID: 16623073
14.  Ezetimibe, cardiovascular risk and atherogenic dyslipidaemia 
Ezetimibe is a selective cholesterol absorption inhibitor with an excellent side-effect profile, able to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 15-25% from baseline in monotherapy and on top of statins and fibrates. Yet, it seems that ezetimibe produces quantitative rather than qualitative changes in LDL, with small net effects on atherogenic dyslipidaemia. This is supported by findings from the Ezetimibe and Simvastatin in Hypercholesterolemia Enhances Atherosclerosis Regression (ENHANCE) study on atherosclerosis progression, where the addition of ezetimibe to simvastatin in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia did not affect the mean change in carotid intima-media thickness, although a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol levels was observed. The Simvastatin and Ezetimibe in Aortic Stenosis (SEAS) study has further shown that combination treatment with simvastatin significantly reduced LDL cholesterol levels in patients with aortic stenosis, but did not affect the primary end point of aortic valve and cardiovascular events, although a significant reduction in the risk of ischaemic events was reported. Formal cardiovascular outcome trials are underway and these will provide additional insights into the long-term effects of ezetimibe on clinical events as well as on atherogenic dyslipidaemia, beyond LDL cholesterol levels.
PMCID: PMC3258692  PMID: 22291726
ezetimibe; cardiovascular risk; atherosclerosis; dyslipidaemia
15.  Framingham risk score is associated with femoral artery intima-media thickness in asymptomatic young adults (The Bogalusa Heart Study) 
Atherosclerosis  2010;213(2):627-631.
Femoral artery intima-media thickness (IMT), like carotid IMT, is a surrogate indicator of atherosclerotic coronary and peripheral vascular diseases. The Framingham risk score (FRS) is widely being used in the early prediction of coronary artery disease (CAD). However, the association between FRS and femoral artery IMT has not been studied in asymptomatic younger black and white adult population. Our objective was to examine the association between FRS and femoral artery IMT in asymptomatic younger adults.
Subjects (n = 1080; 71% white, 43% male) aged 24–43 years enrolled in the Bogalusa Heart Study. Femoral IMT was measured by B-mode ultrasonography. Age, gender, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, Low density lipoprotein cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, cigarette smoking and type2 diabetes were used to calculate individual FRS.
FRS was lower in females (p = 0.001) than males. Age-adjusted femoral IMT showed gender differences (males > females, p = 0.001) among whites only; and no race difference in both genders. A significant positive linear relationship between tertiles of FRS and IMT of femoral artery was noted in whites and blacks alike (p for trend < 0.0001). In a multivariate analysis that included FRS, race, body mass index (BMI), log insulin, log triglycerides, exercise and alcohol intake; FRS, insulin and BMI were significantly and independently associated in that order with femoral IMT.
The findings support the use of FRS in both white and black younger adults and underscore the importance of prevention and control of FRS variables in youth.
PMCID: PMC2997870  PMID: 20970137
Femoral artery; intima-media thickness; Framingham risk score; ultrasonography; vascular disease
16.  Evaluation of Clinical Variables Associated with Increased Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Middle-Aged Hypertensive Women 
It has been previously documented that carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is a predictor of cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to identify clinical parameters associated with an increased cIMT treated hypertensive women. Female patients (n = 116) with essential hypertension, aged 40–65 years, were included in this study. Vascular ultrasound was performed and the patients were divided into two groups according to the values of cIMT (< or ≥0.9 mm). Patients with greater cIMT presented significantly higher systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure. Serum HDL-cholesterol was significantly lower and CRP was significantly higher in the same group. There was a significant correlation between cIMT and age (r = 0.25, P = 0.007), systolic blood pressure (r = 0.19, P = 0.009), pulse pressure (r = 0.30, P = 0.001), and LDL-cholesterol (r = 0.19, P = 0.043). cIMT was correlated to CRP (r = 0.31, P = 0.007) and negatively correlated to HDL-cholesterol (r = 0.33, P = 0.001). In logistic regression, only HDL-cholesterol, CRP, and pulse pressure were shown to be independent variables associated to increased cIMT. In conclusion, pulse pressure, HDL-cholesterol, and CRP are variables correlated with cIMT in treated hypertensive women.
PMCID: PMC3371681  PMID: 22701780
17.  Rheumatoid Arthritis Impacts on the Independent Relationships between Circulating Adiponectin Concentrations and Cardiovascular Metabolic Risk 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:461849.
Adiponectin and leptin are likely involved in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and therefore potential new therapeutic targets. Adiponectin inhibition could be expected to enhance cardiovascular metabolic risk. However, it is unknown whether RA changes the influence of adipokines on cardiovascular metabolic risk. We determined whether RA impacts on the independent relationships of circulating leptin and adiponectin concentrations with cardiovascular risk factors and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in 277 black African subjects from a developing population; 119 had RA. RA impacted on the relationships of adiponectin concentrations with lipid concentrations and blood pressure, independent of confounders including adiposity (interaction P < 0.05). This translated into an association of adiponectin concentrations with more favorable lipid variables including HDL cholesterol (P = 0.0005), non-HDL cholesterol (P = 0.007), and triglyceride (P = 0.005) concentrations, total cholesterol-HDL cholesterol (P = 0.0002) and triglycerides-HDL cholesterol (P = 0.0003) ratios, and higher systolic (P = 0.0006), diastolic (P = 0.0004), and mean blood pressure (P = 0.0007) in RA but not non-RA subjects. Leptin was not associated with metabolic risk after adjustment for adiposity. The cIMT did not differ by RA status, and adipokine concentrations were unrelated to atherosclerosis. This study suggests that leptin and adiponectin inhibition may not alter overall cardiovascular risk and disease in RA.
PMCID: PMC3649499  PMID: 23690663
18.  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
19.  Liraglutide decreases carotid intima-media thickness in patients with type 2 diabetes: 8-month prospective pilot study 
Liraglutide, a long-acting glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog, has several non- glycemic properties, but its effect on carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), a recognized marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, is still unknown.
A prospective study of 8 months duration in 64 patients with type-2 diabetes and no prior history of coronary artery disease evaluated whether adding liraglutide to metformin affects carotid IMT, measured by color doppler ultrasound.
After 8 months, fasting glucose decreased by 2.1 mmol/l and HbA1c by 1.9% (p < 0.01 for all). Liraglutide reduced total-cholesterol and triglycerides by 10%, and LDL-cholesterol by 19%, whereas HDL-cholesterol increased by 18% (p < 0.01 for all lipid changes). Carotid IMT decreased from 1.19 ± 0.47 to 0.94 ± 0.21 mm (p < 0.01). Yet, changes in carotid IMT did not correlate with changes in any other variable studied.
Liraglutide decreases carotid IMT after 8 months treatment independently of its effect on plasma glucose and lipids concentrations.
Trial registration NCT01715428.
PMCID: PMC3948058  PMID: 24559258
Liraglutide; Carotid intima-media thickness; Cardiovascular risk; Type2 diabetes
This secondary analysis from the Stop Atherosclerosis in Native Diabetics Study examines the effects of lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) with statins alone versus statins plus ezetimibe (E) on common carotid artery intimal medial thickness (CIMT) in patients with type 2 diabetes and no prior cardiovascular event.
It is unknown whether the addition of E to statin therapy affects subclinical atherosclerosis.
Within an aggressive group (target LDL-C ≤70mg/dL; non-high-density lipoprotein [non-HDL]-C ≤<100 mg/dL; systolic blood pressure [SBP] ≤115mmHg), change in CIMT over 36mos was compared in diabetic individuals >40 yrs receiving statins plus E versus statins alone. CIMT changes in both aggressive subgroups were compared with changes in the standard subgroups (target LDL-C ≤<100mg/dL; non-HDL-C ≤ 130 mg/dL; SBP ≤130mmHg).
Mean (95%CI) LDL-C was reduced by 31 (23, 37)mg/dL and 32 (27, 38)mg/dL in the aggressive group receiving statins plus E and statins alone, respectively, compared with changes of 1 (−3, 6) mg/dL in the standard group (p<0.0001 vs both aggressive subgroups. Within the aggressive group, mean IMT at 36mos regressed from baseline similarly in the E (−.025 [−05,.003] mm) and non-E subgroups (−.012 [−.03,.008] mm) but progressed in the standard treatment arm (0.039 [0.02, 0.06] mm), intergroup p<0.0001.
Reducing LDL-C to aggressive targets resulted in similar regression of CIMT in patients who attained equivalent LDL-C reductions from a statin alone or statin plus E. CIMT increased in those achieving standard targets.
PMCID: PMC2854549  PMID: 19095139
ezetimibe; CIMT; atherosclerosis
21.  Association of Natural Intake of Dietary Plant Sterols with Carotid Intima–Media Thickness and Blood Lipids in Chinese Adults: A Cross-Section Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32736.
Many studies showed a moderate cholesterol-lowering effect of plant sterols (PS), but increased circulating PS might be atherogenic. We evaluated the associations between natural dietary intake of PS and carotid intima–media thickness (IMT) and serum lipids.
Methodology/Principal Findings
This community-based cross-sectional study included 1160 men and 2780 women aged 31–75 years. Dietary intakes were assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire. The IMTs at the common, bifurcation and internal carotid artery segments, and fasting serum total (TC), LDL (LDLc) and HDL (HDLc) cholesterol, and triglycerides (TG) were determined. After adjusting for potential covariates, multivariate analysis showed a dose-dependent inverse association of total PS intake with serum TC, LDLc, non-HDLc in women (P<0.001) and in men (P<0.05). As compared to the lowest quartile of PS intake (<206 mg/d), the multivariate-adjusted means of TC, LDLc and non-HDLc in the highest quartile of PS intake (447 mg/d) decreased by 5.0%, 6.2% and 6.5% in women (P<0.005), and by 6.4%, 7.1% and 6.7% (P>0.05) in men. Although the IMTs tended to be lower with greater intake of dietary PS, only small differences in the left internal IMT between the highest and lowest groups were observed among men (−7.6%) and women (−5.1%) (P<0.05). The multivariate analysis showed no significant mean differences among the PS groups in HDLc, TG and IMTs at other studied sites among men and women (all P>0.05).
Greater PS consumption from natural diets is associated with lower serum total, LDL, non-HDL cholesterol and with thinner left internal IMT in women and men.
PMCID: PMC3296732  PMID: 22412917
22.  Markers of inflammation and CD8+ T-cell activation, but not monocyte activation are associated with subclinical carotid artery disease in HIV 
HIV medicine  2013;14(6):385-390.
To explore the relationships between lymphocyte and monocyte activation, inflammation, and subclinical vascular disease among HIV-1 infected patients on antiretroviral therapy.
Baseline mean common carotid artery (CCA) intima-media thickness (IMT) and carotid plaque (IMT >1.5cm) were evaluated in the first 60 subjects enrolled in the Stopping Atherosclerosis and Treating Unhealthy bone with RosuvastatiN in HIV (SATURN-HIV) trial. All subjects were adults, on stable ART with evidence of heightened T-cell activation (CD8+CD38+HLA-DR+ ≥19%) or increased inflammation (high sensitivity C-reactive protein ≥2mg/L). All had fasting LDL-cholesterol ≤130mg/dL.
78% were men and 65% African-American. Median (IQR) age and CD4+ count were 47(43,52) years and 648(511, 857) cells/µL, respectively. All had HIV-1 RNA<400 cps/mL. Mean CCA-IMT was correlated with log-transformed CD8+CD38+HLA-DR+% (r=0.326, p=0.043), interleukin-6 (r=0.283, p=0.028), soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule (sVCAM, r=0.434, p=0.004), tumor necrosis factor-α receptor-I (TNFR-I, r=0.591, p=<0.0001) and fibrinogen (r=0.257, p=0.047). After adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors, the association with TNFR-I (p=0.007) and fibrinogen (p=0.033) remained significant. Subjects with plaque (n=22, 37%) were older [51(7.7) vs. 43(9.4) years, mean(SD), p=0.002], had higher CD8+CD38+HLA-DR+% [31(24, 41) vs. 23(20,29)%, median(IQR), p=0.046] and higher sVCAM [737(159) vs. 592(160) ng/mL, p=0.008] compared to those without plaque. Pro-inflammatory monocyte subsets and serum markers of monocyte activation (soluble CD163 and soluble CD14) were not associated with CCA-IMT or plaque.
Participants in SATURN-HIV have a high level of inflammation and immune activation that is associated with subclinical vascular disease despite low serum LDL-C.
PMCID: PMC3640592  PMID: 23332012
T-cell activation; Monocyte activation; Inflammation; Carotid intima-media thickness; Subclinical atherosclerosis
23.  Evaluation of Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D as a Predictor of Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Carotid Total Plaque Area in Nonsmokers: The Tromsø Study 
Objective. Altered calcium homeostasis has been linked to increased intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaques. We aimed to investigate whether serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and serum calcium are associated with IMT and plaques in nonsmoking population. Methods. Ultrasound of the right carotid artery with the measurements of IMT and plaques was performed in 4194 nonsmoking subjects with available measurements of serum 25(OH)D and total calcium. Linear regression was applied to study the linear relationships between variables. Multinomial logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors of increased IMT and total plaque area (TPA), adjusted for age, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol. Results. There was no significant linear relationship between mean IMT, TPA, and either serum 25(OH)D or total serum calcium. One SD increase in serum 25(OH)D was independently associated with increased odds of being in the highest quartile of IMT in men (OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.12, 1.51). In women, 1 SD increase in serum 25(OH)D was independently associated with increased risk of being in the upper tertile of TPA (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.01, 1.33). Conclusions. Impaired calcium homeostasis has no consistent association with mean IMT and TPA; however, increased serum 25(OH)D may predict subclinical atherosclerosis in nonsmokers.
PMCID: PMC3853925  PMID: 24575129
24.  The Association of Pediatric LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol Dyslipidemia Classifications and Change in Dyslipidemia Status with Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Adulthood: Evidence from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, the Bogalusa Heart Study, and the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health (CDAH) Study 
– To determine which of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) or National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol classifications of dyslipidemia status in adolescents is most effective at predicting high common carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) in adulthood.
– Two classifications of pediatric dyslipidemia status have been proposed. No study has assessed which of these is most effective for predicting adolescents who will develop preclinical atherosclerosis in adulthood.
– Three population-based, prospective cohort studies that collected lipoprotein measurements on 1711 adolescents aged 12–18 years who were re-measured as young adults aged 29–39 years. Lipoproteins in adolescence were classified according to NCEP and NHANES cut-points, while high IMT in adulthood was defined as those at or above the age, sex, race, and cohort specific 90th percentile of IMT.
– Independent of the classification employed, adolescents with dyslipidemia were at significantly increased risk of having high IMT in adulthood (relative risks from 1.6 to 2.5). Differences in predictive capacity between both classifications were minimal. Overweight or obese adolescents with dyslipidemia had increased carotid IMT (males, 0.11mm; females, 0.08mm) in adulthood compared with those who did not have both risk factors. Adolescent dyslipidemia status was more strongly associated with high IMT in adulthood than change in dyslipidemia status.
– Pediatric dyslipidemia classifications perform equally in the prediction of adolescents who are at increased risk of high IMT in young adulthood. Our data suggest that dyslipidemia screening could be limited to overweight or obese adolescents.
PMCID: PMC2759186  PMID: 19264243
pediatrics; dyslipidemia; carotid atherosclerosis; epidemiology; screening
25.  Multiple risk factor intervention reduces carotid atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes 
Patients with rapid progression of carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) were shown to have a higher future risk for cardiovascular events.
The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of multiple risk factor intervention on CIMT progression and to establish whether new cardiovascular surrogate measurements would allow prediction of CIMT changes.
Materials and methods
In this prospective, open, 2-years study, we included 97 patients with type 2 diabetes and at least two insufficiently treated cardiovascular risk factors, i.e. HbA1c > 7.5% (58 mmol/mol); LDL-cholesterol >3.1 mmol/l or blood pressure >140/90 mmHg. Treatment was intensified according to current guidelines over 3 months with the aim to maintain intensification over 2 years.
The primary outcome was the change in CIMT after 2 years. We also assessed markers of mechanical and biochemical endothelial function and endothelial progenitor cells before and after 3 months of treatment intensification. For testing differences between before and after multifactorial treatment measurements we used either the paired student’s t-test or the Wilcoxon signed-rank test, depending on the distribution of the data. Additional, explorative statistical data analysis was done on CIMT progression building a linear multivariate regression model.
Blood glucose, lipids and blood pressure significantly improved during the first 3 months of intensified treatment, which was sustained over the 2-year study duration. Mean CIMT significantly decreased from baseline to 2 year (0.883 ± 0.120 mm vs. 0.860 ± 0.130 mm; p = 0.021). None of the investigated surrogate measures, however, was able to predict changes in IMT early after treatment intensification.
Intensification of risk factor intervention in type 2 diabetes results in CIMT regression over a period of 2 years. None of the biomarkers used including endothelial function parameters or endothelial progenitor cells turned out to be useful to predict CIMT changes.
Trial registration
Clinical Trial Registration – Unique identifier: NCT00660790
PMCID: PMC4041351  PMID: 24884694
Intensified risk factor intervention; Carotid intima media thickness; Type 2 diabetes; Cardiovascular surrogate measurements; Carotid atherosclerosis

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