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1.  Evaluation of endothelial function and subclinical atherosclerosis in association with hepatitis C virus in HIV-infected patients: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:265.
Background
Relationship of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in HIV-infected patients remains controversial. We evaluated endothelial function and subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients with and without HCV.
Methods
Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery and circulating levels of cell adhesion molecules (CAM) were measured in HCV/HIV-coinfected and HIV-monoinfected patients. Subclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT).
Results
63 (31%) HCV/HIV-coinfected and 138 (69%) HIV-monoinfected patients were included. Median soluble vascular CAM-1 (sVCAM-1) and intercellular CAM-1 (sICAM-1) levels were significantly higher in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients (P < 0.001 for both cases). Median (interquartile range) FMD was 6.21% (2.86-9.62) in HCV/HIV-coinfected and 5.54% (2.13-9.13) in HIV-monoinfected patients (P = 0.37). Adjustment for variables associated with HCV and FMD disclosed similar results. FMD correlated inversely with cIMT and age. Carotid IMT did not differ between HCV/HIV-coinfected and HIV-monoinfected patients in unadjusted (0.61 [0.55-0.65] mm vs 0.60 [0.53-0.72] mm; P = 0.39) or adjusted analyses.
Conclusion
HCV infection was associated with higher levels of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1, but no evidence of increased subclinical atherosclerosis was found when endothelial function was evaluated through FMD, or when assessing the cIMT.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-265
PMCID: PMC3198698  PMID: 21967471
2.  Relationship Between Brachial Flow - Mediated Dilation and Carotid Intima- Media Thickness in an Elderly Cohort: The Cardiovascular Health Study 
Atherosclerosis  2007;197(2):840-845.
Objective
The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in a large multi-ethnic elderly cohort.
Background
Brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) is a physiologic measure and Carotid IMT is an anatomic structural measure of subclinical atherosclerosis. Both brachial FMD and carotid IMT have been associated with cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular events. The relationship between brachial FMD and carotid IMT is less clear especially in older adults.
Methods
Brachial FMD, carotid IMT and traditional cardiovascular risk factors were measured in 2338 adults, age 72–98 years who were participants in the Cardiovascular Health Study. The relationship between FMD and IMT was assessed both unadjusted and also after adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity. BMI, HDL, LDL, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, serum creatinine, current smoking, diabetes mellitus, hormone therapy and prior CVD.
Results
Both brachial FMD and carotid IMT correlated significantly with age, HDL levels, waist/hip ratio, serum cholesterol and number of CV risk factors. Brachial FMD was not associated with CCA IMT in this elderly cohort (Pearson partial correlation coefficient= −0.0252, p=0.222). In the adjusted linear regression model with CCA IMT as the dependent variable, brachial FMD was also not associated with CCA IMT (beta coefficient= −0.006, p=0.470)
Conclusion
Brachial FMD and CCA IMT are not related in population-based older adults. Brachial FMD and CCA IMT may be distinct and independent stages in the complex atherosclerotic process.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2007.07.032
PMCID: PMC4115586  PMID: 17804000
Brachial flow-mediated dilation; carotid intima-media thickness; endothelial function; atherosclerosis; elderly
3.  ASSOCIATION BETWEEN BRACHIAL ARTERY REACTIVITY AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE STATUS IN AN ELDERLY COHORT: THE CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH STUDY 
Atherosclerosis  2007;197(2):768-776.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
The association of brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) status is unclear especially in older adults whose FMD is greatly diminished. We assessed the association of FMD and the presence or absence of subclinical and clinical CVD in a population based cohort of older adults.
METHODS AND RESULTS
FMD was measured in 2971 adults aged 72–98 years (mean age 78.6 years) who participated in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to examine the association between FMD and CVD status (clinical, subclinical and free of CVD). Out of 2791 with complete data, 82.7% were Caucasians and 59% females. 743 were classified as having clinical CVD, 607 as subclinical CVD and 1441 as neither clinical CVD nor subclinical CVD (CVD free). FMD was higher in the CVD free group compared with either the clinical (3.13 ± 0.05% vs 2.93 ± 0.07%, p=0.025) or the subclinical CVD group (3.13± 0.05% vs 2.95± 0.08%, p=0.05) after adjusting for covariates. There was no significant difference between the FMD of subjects with clinical and subclinical CVD (2.93 ± 0.07% vs 2.95 ± 0.08%, p=0.84). Similar but inverted associations were observed between height adjusted brachial artery diameter (BAD) and CVD status. However, FMD and BAD had poor diagnostic accuracies for identifying older adults with subclinical CVD.
CONCLUSION
Among older adults, those with either clinical or subclinical CVD have lower FMD than CVD free subjects. BAD showed similar but inverted associations with CVD status in this cohort. FMD and BAD had poor diagnostic accuracies for identifying older adults with subclinical CVD.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2007.07.013
PMCID: PMC4115610  PMID: 17714717
Brachial flow-mediated dilation; brachial artery diameter; cardiovascular disease; elderly
4.  Comparison of brachial and carotid artery ultrasound for assessing extent of subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV: a prospective cohort study 
Background
Non-invasive surrogate measures which are valid and responsive to change are needed to study cardiovascular risks in HIV. We compared the construct validity of two noninvasive arterial measures: carotid intima medial thickness (IMT), which measures anatomic disease; and brachial flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), a measure of endothelial dysfunction.
Methods
A sample of 257 subjects aged 35 years or older, attending clinics in five Canadian centres, were prospectively recruited into a study of cardiovascular risk among HIV subjects. The relationship between baseline IMT or FMD and traditional vascular risk factors was studied using regression analysis. We analyzed the relationship between progression of IMT or FMD and risk factors using fixed-effects models. We adjusted for use of statin medication and CD4 count in both models.
Results
Baseline IMT was significantly associated with age (p < 0.001), male gender (p = 0.034), current smoking status (p < 0.001), systolic blood pressure (p < 0.001) and total:HDL cholesterol ratio (p = 0.004), but not statin use (p = 0.904) and CD4 count (p = 0.929). IMT progression was significantly associated with age (p < 0.001), male gender (p = 0.0051) and current smoking status (p = 0.011), but not statin use (p = 0.289) and CD4 count (p = 0.927). FMD progression was significantly associated with current statin use (p = 0.019), but not CD4 count (p = 0.84). Neither extent nor progression of FMD was significantly associated with any of the examined vascular risk factors.
Conclusion
IMT correlates better than FMD with established cardiovascular risk factors in this cohort of HIV patients. Standardization of protocols for FMD and IMT will facilitate the comparison of results across studies.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-6-11
PMCID: PMC2708196  PMID: 19519884
5.  Vitamin D Levels and Markers of Arterial Dysfunction in HIV 
Abstract
HIV-infected patients have low vitamin D levels as well as an increase in cardiovascular (CVD) risk. We examined the relationship between vitamin D and three markers of arterial dysfunction among HIV-infected individuals on stable antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. Levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] were assessed by chemiluminescent immunoassay (DiaSorin) in 100 enrollees into the Hawaii Aging with HIV-Cardiovascular Cohort Study, a cohort of HIV-infected subjects age ≥40 years on stable (≥6 months) ARV therapy. The relationships between 25(OH)D levels and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), right common carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT), and coronary artery calcium (CAC) were examined. Analytical methods included Pearson's correlations, Kruskal–Wallis tests, relative risks, and linear regression models. The cohort was 86% male and 60% white with a median age of 52 years and CD4 of 510 cells/mm3. The median (Q1, Q3) level of 25(OH)D was 27.9 ng/ml (21.8, 38.3). There were 72 FMD, 50 cIMT, and 90 CAC measurements available for analyses. A significant correlation was observed between 25(OH)D levels and FMD (r=0.30, p=0.01) but not with cIMT (r=−0.05, p=0.76). In a linear regression model, Framingham risk score attenuated the relationship between FMD and 25(OH)D. Those with lower 25(OH)D levels were at slightly higher risk of having CAC (RR=1.02, p=0.04). Among those with CAC, lower 25(OH)D levels were not associated with higher CAC scores (p=0.36). Lower vitamin D levels are associated with evidence of subclinical arterial dysfunction in HIV-infected individuals. The significance of these findings warrants further investigation.
doi:10.1089/aid.2011.0086
PMCID: PMC3399561  PMID: 21978287
6.  Long-Term Changes in Carotid Intima-Media Thickness among HIV-Infected Children and Young Adults 
Antiviral therapy  2013;19(1):61-68.
Objective
HIV+ patients are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study assessed long-term changes in carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) as a surrogate marker for CVD risk in HIV-infected children and young adults.
Methods
This was a longitudinal, observational study comparing carotid IMT in HIV-infected subjects 2–21 years old to matched controls over 144 weeks.
Results
34 HIV-infected and 29 controls were included in the analysis. Among the HIV-infected group, median age was 10 years, 74% black, and 65% female. 91% were perinatally-infected with 82% on antiretroviral therapy and a median CD4 count of 681 cells/mm3. At baseline, HIV-infected had increased internal carotid artery (ICA) and common carotid artery (CCA) IMT (mm) [ICA- HIV+: 0.90, controls: 0.73 (P<0.01); CCA- HIV+: 1.00, controls: 0.90 (P=0.02)]. Relatively large changes in ICA and CCA IMT were seen from year to year in both groups. However, by week 144, there were no net changes in ICA or CCA IMT within the HIV-infected group. In the controls, CCA increased 0.1 mm and ICA increased 0.17 mm from baseline to week 144. ICA and CCA IMT were similar between groups by 144 weeks.
Conclusion
Despite variations from year to year in carotid IMT in HIV-infected children and healthy controls, likely due to arterial growth and/or luminal diameter change, little or no net change occurred in carotid IMT over the entire 144-week study period. This suggests that only small net changes occur over time in HIV-infected children despite an increased long-term risk of CVD.
doi:10.3851/IMP2678
PMCID: PMC3938569  PMID: 23985545
HIV; atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; intima-media thickness; pediatrics; adolescents
7.  Low free testosterone in HIV-infected men is not associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease 
HIV medicine  2012;13(6):358-366.
Objectives
Low testosterone (T) is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and increased mortality in the general population; however, the impact of T on subclinical CVD in HIV disease is unknown. This study examined the relationships among free testosterone (FT), subclinical CVD, and HIV disease.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional analysis in 322 HIV-uninfected and 534 HIV-infected men in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. Main outcomes were coronary artery calcification presence, defined as a coronary artery calcium (CAC) score > 10 (CAC score was the geometric mean of the Agatston scores of two computed tomography replicates), and far wall common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT)/carotid lesion presence by B-mode ultrasound.
Results
Compared with the HIV-uninfected men in our sample, HIV-infected men were younger, with lower body mass index (BMI) and more often Black. HIV-infected men had lower FT (age-adjusted FT 88.7 ng/dL vs. 101.7 ng/dL in HIV-uninfected men; P = 0.0004); however, FT was not associated with CAC, log carotid IMT, or the presence of carotid lesions. HIV status was not associated with CAC presence or log carotid IMT, but was associated with carotid lesion presence (adjusted odds ratio 1.69; 95% confidence interval 1.06, 2.71) in HIV-infected men compared with HIV-uninfected men.
Conclusions
Compared with HIV-uninfected men, HIV-infected men had lower FT, as well as more prevalent carotid lesions. In both groups, FT was not associated with CAC presence, log carotid IMT, or carotid lesion presence, suggesting that FT does not influence subclinical CVD in this population of men with and at risk for HIV infection.
doi:10.1111/j.1468-1293.2011.00988.x
PMCID: PMC3505881  PMID: 22296297
cardiovascular disease; HIV; testosterone
8.  Predictive Value of Brachial Flow-Mediated Dilation for Incident Cardiovascular Events in a Population-Based Study: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Circulation  2009;120(6):502-509.
Background
Although brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) predicts recurrent cardiovascular events, its predictive value for incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in adults free of CVD is not well established. We assessed the predictive value of FMD for incident CVD events in the Multi Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Methods and Results
Brachial artery FMD was measured in a nested case- cohort sample of 3026 out of 6814 subjects (mean ± SD age 61.2 ± 9.9 years), in MESA, a population-based cohort study of adults free of clinical CV disease at baseline recruited at six clinic sites in the USA. The sample comprised 50.2% females, 34.3% Caucasian, 19.7% Chinese, 20.8% African Americans and 25.1% Hispanics. Probability-weighted Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to examine the association between FMD and five years of adjudicated incident CVD events, including incident myocardial infarction, definite angina, coronary revascularization (coronary artery bypass grafting, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or other revascularization), stroke, resuscitated cardiac arrest and CVD death.
Mean (SD) FMD of the cohort was 4.4 (2.8) %. In probability-weighted Cox models, FMD/unit SD was significantly associated with incident cardiovascular events in both the univariate(adjusted for age and gender) [hazard ratio; 0.79(95% CI, 0.65–0.97), p=0.01], after adjusting for the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) [hazard ratio; 0.80(95%CI, 0.62–0.97), p=0.025] and also in multivariable models [hazard ratio; 0.84(95%CI, 0.71–0.99), p=0.04] after adjusting for age, gender, diabetes mellitus, cigarette smoking status, systolic blood pressure, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, heart rate, statin use and blood pressure medication use. The c statistic (AUC) of FMD, FRS, FRS + FMD) were 0.65, 0.74 and 0.74 respectively. Compared with the FRS alone, the addition of FMD to the FRS net correctly re-classifies 52% of subjects with no incident CVD event, but net incorrectly reclassifies 23% of subjects with an incident CVD event; an overall net correct re-classification of 29% (p < 0.001).
Conclusions
Brachial FMD is a predictor of incident cardiovascular events in population based adults. Even though the addition of FMD to the FRS did not improve discrimination of subjects at risk of CVD events in ROC analysis, it did improve the classification of subjects as low, intermediate and high CVD risk compared to the FRS.
doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.864801
PMCID: PMC2740975  PMID: 19635967
Endothelial dysfunction; brachial flow-mediated dilation; incident cardiovascular event; healthy adults
9.  Pre-Clinical Atherosclerosis due to HIV Infection: Carotid Intima-Medial Thickness Measurements from the FRAM Study 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(14):1841-1849.
Background
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an increasing cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected patients. However, it is controversial whether HIV infection contributes to accelerated atherosclerosis independent of traditional CVD risk factors.
Methods
Cross-sectional study of HIV-infected and control subjects without pre-existing CVD from the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Pre-clinical atherosclerosis was assessed by carotid intima-medial thickness (IMT) measurements in the internal/bulb and common regions in HIV-infected and control subjects after adjusting for traditional CVD risk factors.
Results
For internal carotid, mean IMT was 1.17±0.50mm for HIV-infected participants and 1.06±0.58mm for controls (p<0.0001). After multivariable adjustment for demographic characteristics, the mean difference of HIV-infected vs. controls was +0.188mm (95%CI 0.113-0.263, p<0.0001). Further adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors modestly attenuated the HIV association (+0.148mm, 95%CI 0.072-0.224, p=0.0001). For the common carotid, HIV infection was independently associated with greater IMT (+0.033mm, 95%CI 0.010, 0.056, p=0.005). The association of HIV infection with IMT was similar to that of smoking which was also associated with greater IMT (internal +0.173mm, common +0.020mm).
Conclusions
Even after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors, HIV infection was accompanied by more extensive atherosclerosis measured by IMT. The stronger association of HIV infection with IMT in the internal/bulb region compared to the common carotid may explain previous discrepancies in the literature. The association of HIV infection with IMT was similar to that of traditional CVD risk factors, such as smoking.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32832d3b85
PMCID: PMC3156613  PMID: 19455012
HIV; carotid IMT; smoking; cholesterol; diabetes; atherosclerosis
10.  Atherosclerosis in early rheumatoid arthritis: very early endothelial activation and rapid progression of intima media thickness 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R158.
Introduction
In this study we aimed to investigate whether there are indications of premature atherosclerosis, as measured by endothelial dependent flow-mediated dilation (ED-FMD) and intima media thickness (IMT), in patients with very early RA, and to analyze its relation to biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction, taking inflammation and traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors into account.
Methods
Patients from the three northern counties of Sweden diagnosed with early RA are followed in an ongoing prospective study of CVD co-morbidity. Of these, all patients aged ≤60 years were consecutively included in this survey of CVD risk factors (n = 79). Forty-four age and sex matched controls were included. IMT of common carotid artery and ED-FMD of brachial artery were measured using ultrasonography. Blood was drawn for analysis of lipids, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)-mass, VonWillebrand factor (VWF), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM), soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM), sE-selectin, sL-selectin and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1). In a subgroup of 27 RA patients and their controls the ultrasound measurements were reanalysed after 18 months.
Results
There were no significant differences between RA patients and controls in terms of IMT or ED-FMD at the first evaluation. However after 18 months there was a significant increase in the IMT among the patients with RA (P < 0.05). Patients with RA had higher levels of VWF, sICAM-1 (P < 0.05) and of MCP-1 (P = 0.001) compared with controls. In RA, IMT was related to some of the traditional CVD risk factors, tPA-mass, VWF (P < 0.01) and MCP-1 and inversely to sL-selectin (P < 0.05). In RA, ED-FMD related to sL-selectin (P < 0.01). DAS28 at baseline was related to PAI-1, tPA-mass and inversely to sVCAM-1 (P < 0.05) and sL-selectin (P = 0.001).
Conclusions
We found no signs of atherosclerosis in patients with newly diagnosed RA compared with controls. However, in patients with early RA, IMT and ED-FMD were, to a greater extent than in controls, related to biomarkers known to be associated with endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. After 18 months, IMT had increased significantly in RA patients but not in controls.
doi:10.1186/ar3116
PMCID: PMC2945061  PMID: 20712865
11.  Effect of Nadir CD4+ T Cell Count on Clinical Measures of Periodontal Disease in HIV+ Adults before and during Immune Reconstitution on HAART  
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76986.
Background
The contribution of HIV-infection to periodontal disease (PD) is poorly understood.  We proposed that immunological markers would be associated with improved clinical measures of PD.
Methods
We performed a longitudinal cohort study of HIV-infected adults who had started highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) <2 years. PD was characterized clinically as the percent of teeth with ≥1 site with periodontal probing depth (PPD) ≥5.0mm, recession (REC) >0mm, clinical attachment level (CAL) ≥4.0mm, and bleeding on probing (BOP) at ≥4 sites/tooth and microbiologically as specific periodontopathogen concentration. Linear mixed-effects models were used to assess the associations between immune function and PD.
Results
Forty (40) subjects with median 2.7 months on HAART and median nadir CD4+ T-cell count of 212 cells/μl completed a median 3 visits. Over 24 months, CD4+ T-cell count increased by a mean 173 cells/µl (p<0.001) and HIV RNA decreased by 0.5 log10 copies/ml (p<0.001); concurrently, PPD, CAL and BOP decreased by a mean 11.7%, 12.1%, and 14.7% respectively (all p<0.001). Lower nadir CD4+ T-cell count was associated with worse baseline REC (-6.72%; p=0.04) and CAL (9.06%; p<0.001). Further, lower nadir CD4+ T-cell count was associated with a greater relative longitudinal improvement in PPD in subjects with higher baseline levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis (p=0.027), and BOP in subjects with higher baseline levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis or Treponema denticola (p=0.001 and p=0.006 respectively). Longitudinal changes from baseline in CD4+ T-cell count and level of HIV RNA were not independently associated with longitudinal changes in any clinical markers of PD.
Conclusion
Degree of immunosuppression was associated with baseline gingival recession. After HAART initiation, measures of active PD improved most in those with lower nadir CD4+ T-cell counts and higher baseline levels of specific periodontopathogens. Nadir CD4+ T-cell count differentially influences periodontal disease both before and after HAART in HIV-infected adults.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076986
PMCID: PMC3795634  PMID: 24146949
12.  Increased CD34+/KDR+ cells are not associated with carotid artery intima-media thickness progression in chronic HIV-positive subjects 
Antiviral Therapy  2011;17(3):557-563.
Background
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are involved in the endothelium repair. Low circulating EPC levels are predictive of cardiovascular events in HIV-negative subjects. The impact of HIV infection on EPCs, and the role of EPCs in HIV-associated cardiovascular disease, is not known. We hypothesized that circulating EPCs would be inversely associated with carotid artery intima-media thickness (c-IMT) changes in HIV-infected subjects.
Methods
EPCs (CD34+/KDR+, CD133+/KDR+ and CD34+/CD133+/KDR+) were defined retrospectively by flow cytometry in cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells collected longitudinally from 66 chronic HIV-infected subjects and cross-sectionally from 50 at-risk HIV-negative subjects. The HIV-infected subjects participated in the Study of the Consequences of the Protease Inhibitor Era (SCOPE) cohort, were receiving antiretroviral therapy (59/66) and had two sequential measurements of c-IMT 1 year apart. Two distinct groups of HIV-infected subjects were identified a priori: rapid c-IMT progressors (subjects with rapid c-IMT progression, n=13, Δc-IMT>0.2 mm) and slow c-IMT progressors (subjects with slow or no c-IMT progression, n=53, Δc-IMT<0.2 mm).
Results
Although cryopreservation reduced sensitivity of detection, EPC frequency in HIV-infected subjects was still significantly higher compared to at-risk HIV-negative subjects (CD34+/KDR+; P=0.01) and correlated positively with CD4+ T-cell count (CD34+/KDR+, r=0.27; P=0.03). No association was found between the change of EPC frequencies over time (ΔEPC) and Δc-IMT or between EPC frequencies and c-IMT or Δc-IMT.
Conclusions
The lack of an association between EPCs and c-IMT in our cohort does not support HIV-associated reductions in EPC frequency as a cause of accelerated atherosclerosis.
doi:10.3851/IMP2013
PMCID: PMC3362125  PMID: 22300770
13.  The Relationship between Vitamin D Status and HIV-Related Complications in HIV-infected Children and Young Adults 
Background
In HIV-infected adults, we and others have shown that vitamin D deficiency is independently associated with increased carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), a surrogate marker for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study explored for the first time the relationship between vitamin D and CVD risk in HIV-infected youth.
Methods
This is a cross-sectional assessment of cIMT, inflammation, metabolic markers and vitamin D status in HIV-infected youth and healthy controls. We measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), fasting lipids, insulin, glucose, inflammatory markers, and cIMT.
Results
30 HIV–infected subjects and 31 controls were included. Among HIV-infected subjects, median age was 11 years (37% males; 73% black; similar to controls). HIV-infected subjects’ mean (standard deviation) serum 25(OH)D was 24 (35) ng/mL; 70% had 25(OH)D <20 ng/mL (deficient), 23% between 20–30 ng/mL (insufficient), and 7% >30 ng/mL (sufficient); proportions were similar to controls (P=0.17). After adjusting for season, sex and race, there was no difference in serum 25(OH)D between groups (P=0.11). Serum 25(OH)D was not significantly correlated with cIMT, inflammatory markers, or lipids. Serum 25(OH)D was negatively correlated with body mass index, insulin resistance, HIV duration, and cumulative use of antiretroviral therapy, non- and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
Conclusions
Most HIV-infected youth have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Despite no direct association between serum 25(OH)D and cIMT, there were notable associations with some CVD risk factors, particularly inverse correlation with insulin resistance. Studies are needed to determine whether CVD risk, including insulin resistance, could be improved with vitamin D supplementation.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e318286c793
PMCID: PMC3750101  PMID: 23360833
HIV; children and adolescents; vitamin D deficiency; cardiovascular disease; insulin resistance
14.  Ultrasonographic measures of cardiovascular disease risk in antiretroviral treatment-naïve individuals with HIV infection 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(6):929-937.
Objective
To evaluate associations between traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, inflammatory markers, and markers of HIV disease activity with ultrasonographic measures of CVD risk in patients with HIV who are not receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Design
Cross-sectional, baseline evaluation of ART-naïve HIV-infected individuals without known CVD or diabetes mellitus enrolled in a randomized ART treatment trial.
Methods
Prior to ART initiation, carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) were measured. Additional parameters included CD4 cell count, HIV viral load, body composition, lipoproteins, and inflammatory markers. Associations with common CIMT, bifurcation CIMT, presence of carotid artery lesions, and brachial artery FMD were evaluated.
Results
The 331 enrolled subjects were a median (1st–3rd quartile) of 36 (28–45) years old. Common and bifurcation CIMT values were higher and lesions more prevalent with older age (p <0.001). FMD was lower with older age (p =0.009). Those with a Framingham Risk Score >6%/10 years (N =44) had higher common and bifurcation CIMT (p <0.001), carotid lesion prevalence (p <0.001), and lower FMD (p =0.035). Independent associations with common CIMT were identified for increasing age, height, weight, small LDL particles, and black race; these were similar for bifurcation CIMT. Presence of carotid artery lesions was associated with increasing age, presence of metabolic syndrome, interleukin-6, and lower HIV-1 RNA.
Conclusions
In a contemporary cohort of ART-naive HIV-infected individuals, ultrasonographic measures of CVD risk were more strongly associated with traditional risk factors than CD4 cell counts, HIV replication, or inflammatory markers.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835ce27e
PMCID: PMC3664137  PMID: 23196938
atherosclerosis; carotid arteries; endothelial function; human immunodeficiency virus; inflammation
15.  Endothelial cell markers reflecting endothelial cell dysfunction in patients with mixed connective tissue disease 
Introduction
The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between cardiovascular risk factors and endothelial dysfunction in patients with mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) and to determine which biomarkers are associated with atherosclerotic complications, such as cardiovascular disease.
Methods
Fifty MCTD patients and 38 healthy age-matched and sex-matched controls were enrolled in this study. In order to describe endothelial dysfunction, we assessed flow-mediated dilation (FMD), nitrate-mediated dilation (NMD) and carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT). We investigated FMD of the brachial artery after reactive hyperemia and NMD after sublingual nitroglycerin administration, while the IMT of the common carotid artery was determined by ultrasound. Anti-U1 ribonucleoprotein (anti-U1RNP) antibodies, anti-cardiolipin (anti-CL) antibodies, anti-endothelial cell antibody (AECA) and endothelial cell markers, such as soluble thrombomodulin (TM) and von Willebrand factor antigen (vWFAg), were assessed.
Results
The endothelium-dependent vasodilation (FMD) was significantly impaired in patients with MCTD, as compared with controls (%FMD: 4.7 ± 4.2% vs. 8.7 ± 5.0%; P < 0.001), while the percentage NMD did not differ (%NMD: 14.3 ± 6.6% vs. 17.1 ± 6.7%; P = 0.073). Mean carotid IMT values were higher in patients than in controls (IMT: MCTD, 0.64 ± 0.13 mm vs. controls, 0.53 ± 0.14 mm; P < 0.001). FMD negatively correlated with disease duration, the levels of apolipoprotein A1, the paraoxonase-1 activity, and systolic blood pressure in MCTD patients. The percentage FMD was significantly lower in MCTD patients with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), than in those without CVD (%FMD: 3.5 ± 2.9 vs. 5.8 ± 4.8, P < 0.0002), while percentage NMD did not differ between patients with and without CVDs. Serum levels of autoantibodies (anti-U1RNP, AECA and anti-CL) were significantly higher in MCTD patients and differed between MCTD patients with and without CVD. Endothelial cell markers such as soluble TM (12.2 ± 8.1 ng/ml vs. 3.2 ± 1.3 ng/ml; P < 0.001) and vWFAg (224.1 ± 115% vs. 89.4 ± 27.1%, P < 0.001) were the highest in MCTD patients with CVD.
Conclusions
FMD is a reliable sensitive marker of endothelial cell dysfunction in MCTD. Beside the traditional risk factors, anti-U1RNP, AECA and anti-CL antibodies may be important not only in the pathogenesis of MCTD but in the induction of endothelial cell activation, and may play crucial roles in the development of early atherosclerosis in MCTD.
doi:10.1186/ar2999
PMCID: PMC2911856  PMID: 20459625
16.  Vitamin D is linked to carotid intima-media thickness and immune reconstitution in HIV-positive individuals 
Antiviral therapy  2011;16(4):555-563.
Background
Patients with HIV infection are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Vitamin D insufficiency has been associated with increased CVD risk in non-HIV populations. This study sought to determine the relationship between vitamin D status and markers of CVD and HIV-related factors in HIV-positive patients.
Methods
Patients with HIV infection on antiretroviral therapy and healthy controls were prospectively enrolled. Fasting lipids, glucose, insulin, inflammatory markers (soluble tumour necrosis factor-α receptor I, interleukin-6 and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) and endothelial markers (soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) were measured. Fasting 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was measured from stored serum samples. The internal carotid artery and common carotid artery (CCA) intima-media thickness (IMT) were measured in a subset of HIV-positive patients. Baseline cross-sectional data were analysed.
Results
A total of 149 HIV-positive patients (56 with carotid IMT) and 34 controls were included. Controls had higher adjusted mean 25(OH)D levels than HIV-positive patients (P=0.02). In multivariable linear regression among the HIV-positive patients, 25(OH)D was positively associated with CD4+ T-cell restoration after antiretroviral therapy (ΔCD4 = current - nadir CD4+ T-cell; P<0.01), but was not associated with inflammatory or endothelial markers. In multivariable logistic regression, odds of having CCA IMT above the median were more than 10× higher in those with lower 25(OH)D levels (OR=10.62, 95% CI 1.37–82.34; P<0.01).
Conclusions
Vitamin D status in HIV-positive patients was positively associated with improved immune restoration after antiretroviral therapy and negatively associated with CCA IMT. These findings suggest that vitamin D may play a role in HIV-related CVD and in immune reconstitution after antiretroviral therapy.
doi:10.3851/IMP1784
PMCID: PMC3895475  PMID: 21685543
17.  Changes in Clinical and Microbiological Periodontal Profiles Relate to Progression of Carotid Intima‐Media Thickness: The Oral Infections and Vascular Disease Epidemiology Study 
Background
No prospective studies exist on the relationship between change in periodontal clinical and microbiological status and progression of carotid atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
The Oral Infections and Vascular Disease Epidemiology Study examined 420 participants at baseline (68±8 years old) and follow‐up. Over a 3‐year median follow‐up time, clinical probing depth (PD) measurements were made at 75 766 periodontal sites, and 5008 subgingival samples were collected from dentate participants (average of 7 samples/subject per visit over 2 visits) and quantitatively assessed for 11 known periodontal bacterial species by DNA‐DNA checkerboard hybridization. Common carotid artery intima‐medial thickness (CCA‐IMT) was measured using high‐resolution ultrasound. In 2 separate analyses, change in periodontal status (follow‐up to baseline), defined as (1) longitudinal change in the extent of sites with a ≥3‐mm probing depth (Δ%PD≥3) and (2) longitudinal change in the relative predominance of bacteria causative of periodontal disease over other bacteria in the subgingival plaque (Δetiologic dominance), was regressed on longitudinal CCA‐IMT progression adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, diabetes, smoking status, education, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol and high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol. Mean (SE) CCA‐IMT increased during follow‐up by 0.139±0.008 mm. Longitudinal IMT progression attenuated with improvement in clinical or microbial periodontal status. Mean CCA‐IMT progression varied inversely across quartiles of longitudinal improvement in clinical periodontal status (Δ%PD≥3) by 0.18 (0.02), 0.16 (0.01), 0.14 (0.01), and 0.07 (0.01) mm (P for trend<0.0001). Likewise, mean CCA‐IMT increased by 0.20 (0.02), 0.18 (0.02), 0.15 (0.02), and 0.12 (0.02) mm (P<0.0001) across quartiles of longitudinal improvement in periodontal microbial status (Δetiologic dominance).
Conclusion
Longitudinal improvement in clinical and microbial periodontal status is related to a decreased rate of carotid artery IMT progression at 3‐year average follow‐up.
doi:10.1161/JAHA.113.000254
PMCID: PMC3886779  PMID: 24166489
atherosclerosis; infection; inflammation; periodontal; progression
18.  Associations of Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness (IMT) With Risk Factors and Prevalent Cardiovascular Disease 
Objective
The goal of this study was to compare internal carotid artery (ICA) intima-media thickness (IMT) with common carotid artery (CCA) IMT as global markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods
Cross-sectional measurements of the mean CCA IMT and maximum ICA IMT were made on ultrasound images acquired from the Framingham Offspring cohort (n = 3316; mean age, 58 years; 52.7% women). Linear regression models were used to study the associations of the Framingham risk factors with CCA and ICA IMT. Multivariate logistic regression models and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis were used to compare the associations of prevalent CVD with CCA and ICA IMT and determine sensitivity and specificity.
Results
The association between age and the mean CCA IMT corresponded to an increase of 0.007 mm/y; the increase was 0.037 mm/y for the ICA IMT. Framingham risk factors accounted for 28.6% and 27.5% of the variability in the CCA and ICA IMT, respectively. Age and gender contributed 23.5% to the variability of the CCA IMT and 22.5% to that of the ICA IMT, with the next most important factor being systolic blood pressure (1.9%) for the CCA IMT and smoking (1.6%) for the ICA IMT. The CCA IMT and ICA IMT were statistically significant predictors of prevalent CVD, with the ICA IMT having a larger area under the ROC curve (0.756 versus 0.695).
Conclusions
Associations of risk factors with CCA and ICA IMT are slightly different, and both are independently associated with prevalent CVD. Their value for predicting incident cardiovascular events needs to be compared in outcome studies.
PMCID: PMC3186063  PMID: 21098848
atherosclerosis; carotid artery; disease prevalence; intima-media thickness; risk factors
19.  Correlation between endothelial function and carotid atherosclerosis in rheumatoid arthritis patients with long-standing disease 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(3):R101.
Introduction
In this study, we aimed to determine the relationship between flow-mediated endothelium-dependent vasodilatation (FMD) and carotid artery intima-media wall thickness (IMT), two surrogate markers of atherosclerosis, in a series of Spanish patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) without clinically evident cardiovascular (CV) disease.
Methods
One hundred eighteen patients who fulfilled the 1987 American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for RA, had no history of CV disease and had at least one year of follow-up after disease diagnosis were randomly selected. Brachial and carotid ultrasonography were performed to determine FMD and carotid IMT, respectively.
Results
Carotid IMT values were higher and FMD percentages derived by performing ultrasonography were lower in individuals with a long duration from the time of disease diagnosis. Patients with a disease duration ≤ 7 years had significantly lower carotid IMT (mean ± SD) 0.69 ± 0.17 mm than those with long disease duration (0.81 ± 0.12 mm in patients with ≥ 20 years of follow-up). Also, patients with a long disease duration had severe endothelial dysfunction (FMD 4.0 ± 4.0% in patients with disease duration from 14.5 to 19.7 years) compared with those with shorter disease duration (FMD 7.4 ± 3.8% in patients with disease duration ≤ 7 years). Linear regression analysis revealed that carotid IMT was unrelated to FMD in the whole sample of 118 patients. However, carotid IMT was negatively associated with FMD when the time from disease diagnosis ranged from 7.5 to 19.7 years (P = 0.02).
Conclusions
In patients with RA without CV disease, endothelial dysfunction and carotid IMT increased with the duration of RA. The association between FMD and carotid IMT values was observed only in patients with long disease duration.
doi:10.1186/ar3382
PMCID: PMC3218916  PMID: 21696620
20.  Coronary Artery Calcification Compared with Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Prediction of Cardiovascular Disease Incidence: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Archives of internal medicine  2008;168(12):1333-1339.
Context
Coronary artery calcium (CAC) and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) are noninvasive measures of atherosclerosis that consensus panels have recommended as possible additions to risk factor assessment for predicting the probability of cardiovascular disease (CVD) occurrence.
Objective
To assess whether maximum carotid IMT or CAC (Agatston Score) is the better predictor of incident CVD.
Design, Setting, Patients
Prospective cohort study of 45–84 year-olds initially free of CVD (n = 6,698) in four ethnic groups, with standardized carotid IMT and CAC measures at baseline, in six field centers of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Incident CVD events (coronary heart disease, stroke, and fatal CVD) over a maximum of 5.3 years of follow-up.
Results
There were 222 CVD events during follow-up. CAC was associated more strongly than carotid IMT with risk of incident CVD. After adjustment for each other and traditional CVD risk factors, the hazard of CVD increased 2.1-fold (95% CI 1.8–2.5) for each standard deviation greater level of log-transformed CAC, versus 1.3-fold (95% CI 1.1–1.4) for each standard deviation greater maximum IMT. For coronary heart disease, the hazard ratios per standard deviation increment were 2.5-fold (95% CI 2.1–3.1) for CAC and 1.2-fold (95% CI 1.0–1.4) for IMT. An ROC analysis also suggested that CAC predicted incident CVD better than IMT did.
Conclusions
Although whether and how to clinically use bio-imaging tests of subclinical atherosclerosis remains a topic of debate, this study found that CAC predicts subsequent CVD events better than does carotid IMT.
doi:10.1001/archinte.168.12.1333
PMCID: PMC2555989  PMID: 18574091
21.  Effects of Aging and Smoking on Carotid Intima Media Thickness in HIV-infection 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(1):49-57.
Objectives
To investigate the effects of aging and smoking on carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) among patients with and without HIV.
Methods
Data from a community sample of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected participants were analyzed. Carotid intima-media thickness was measured via carotid ultrasound and smoking history was obtained via patient interview.
Results
Data on 166male and female participants with stable HIV-infection and 152 healthy HIV-uninfected participants were analyzed. Among the HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected participants, a significant association was observed between age and cIMT [r=0.51, P<0.0001 (HIV), r=0.39, P<0.0001, (non-HIV)], and between smoking burden and cIMT [r=0.42, P<0.0001 (HIV), r=0.24, P=0.003 (non-HIV)]. In multivariate regression modeling among all participants (HIV and non-HIV), a significant three-way interaction was observed between age, smoking burden, and HIV status with respect to cIMT (P<0.010), controlling for gender, race and traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, such that increased cIMT was associated with increased smoking burden and age to a greater degree among HIV-infected vs. HIV-uninfected participants. Among HIV-infected participants a significant interaction between smoking burden and age with respect to cIMT was seen (P=0.027), controlling for race, gender, CVD risk factors, immunological function and antiretroviral therapy use.
Conclusion
A significant interaction between HIV, age and smoking on cIMT was observed, suggesting that HIV-infection modifies the relationship of age and smoking on cIMT in this population. These findings emphasize the need to encourage smoking cessation in this population, due to its deleterious effect on subclinical atherosclerosis in older HIV-infected patients.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e328358b29c
PMCID: PMC3690796  PMID: 22874518
HIV; Aging; Cardiovascular Diseases; Smoking
22.  Role of Viral Replication, Antiretroviral Therapy, and Immunodeficiency in HIV- Associated Atherosclerosis 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(9):1059-1067.
Objective
HIV-seropositive patients are at higher risk for atherosclerosis than HIV-seronegative persons. This has been variably attributed to antiretroviral drug toxicity, immunodeficiency, and/or HIV-associated inflammation. To evaluate the contributions of these factors to HIV-associated atherosclerosis, we assessed carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) in a diverse cohort of HIV-seronegative and seropositive adults, including a unique group of HIV-infected patients who were untreated, had undetectable viral loads and had preserved CD4+ T cell counts (HIV controllers).
Methods and Results
Carotid IMT was measured in 494 subjects, including 33 HIV controllers and 93 HIV-seronegative controls. HIV controllers had higher IMT than seronegative controls even after adjustment for traditional risk factors (p=0.003). IMT in controllers was similar to antiretroviral-untreated patients with detectable viremia. Across all subjects, IMT was strongly associated with the presence of HIV disease rather than viral load or CD4+ T cell count. C-reactive protein was higher in HIV controllers than HIV-seronegative persons. Antiretroviral drug exposure was also associated with higher IMT.
Conclusions
Increased atherosclerosis with HIV infection can occur in the absence of antiretroviral therapy, detectable viremia, or overt immunodeficiency. Chronic inflammation—which is higher in controllers than in HIV-uninfected persons—may account for early atherosclerosis in these patients.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32832b514b
PMCID: PMC2691772  PMID: 19390417
23.  Risk Factors Associated with Aortic and Carotid Intimal-Medial Thickness in Adolescents and Young Adults: the Muscatine Offspring Study 
Objectives
To determine whether cardiovascular risk factors are associated with aortic and carotid intimal-medial thickness (aIMT and cIMT) in adolescents and young adults.
Background
Atherosclerotic lesions begin developing in youth, first in the distal abdominal aorta and later in the carotid arteries. Knowledge of how risk factors relate to aIMT and cIMT may help in the design of early interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Methods
Participants were 635 members of the Muscatine Offspring cohort. The mean aIMT and cIMT were measured using an automated reading program.
Results
The means (SDs) of aIMT and cIMT were 0.63 (0.14) mm and 0.49 (0.04) mm, respectively. In adolescents (ages 11 to 17), aIMT was associated with triglycerides, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), body mass index (BMI), and waist/hip ratio, after adjusting for age, gender, and height. In young adults (ages 18 to 34), aIMT was associated with those same five risk factors, plus HDL-cholesterol and pulse pressure. In adolescents, cIMT was associated with SBP, pulse pressure, heart rate, BMI, and waist/hip ratio. In young adults, cIMT was associated total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, SBP, .DBP, BMI, waist/hip ratio, and HbA1C. In both age groups, aIMT and cIMT were significantly correlated with the PDAY coronary artery risk score.
Conclusions
Both aIMT and cIMT are associated with cardiovascular risk factors. Using aIMT in adolescents gives information beyond that obtained from cIMT alone. Measurement of aIMT and cIMT may help identify those at risk for premature cardiovascular disease.
doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2009.03.026
PMCID: PMC2747309  PMID: 19520251
Atherosclerosis; Ultrasound; Preclinical disease; Abdominal aorta; IMT
24.  Carotid intima media thickness is associated with body fat abnormalities in HIV-infected patients 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:348.
Background
HIV-infected patients may be at increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) events, and lipodystrophy is generally associated with proatherogenic metabolic disturbances. Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) has been used as a surrogate marker for atherosclerosis and it has been shown to be an independent risk factor for CV disease. Our objective was to evaluate cIMT in HIV-infected patients on combined anti-retroviral therapy (cART) with and without lipodystrophy defined by fat mass ratio (L-FMR), and to determine the association of lipodystrophy and visceral obesity [(visceral (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume and VAT/SAT ratio, objectively evaluated by CT scan] with cIMT.
Methods
Cross-sectional study of 199 HIV-infected patients. Body composition by DXA and abdominal CT, lipids, blood pressure, inflammatory markers, and cIMT by ultrasonography were performed. L-FMR was defined as the ratio of the percentage of trunk fat mass to the percentage of lower limb fat mass by DXA. Categorical variables were compared using the chi-square or Fisher’s exact test. Spearman correlation coefficients were estimated to study the association between cIMT and clinical and metabolic characteristics. Means of cIMT, adjusted for age, were calculated, using generalized linear models.
Results
L-FMR was present in 41.2% of patients and cIMT was higher in these patients [0.81 (0.24) vs. 0.76 (0.25); p = 0.037)]. Lipodystrophic patients had higher VAT and VAT/SAT ratio and lower SAT. cIMT was associated with lipodystrophy evaluated by FMR, trunk fat, total abdominal fat, VAT and VAT/SAT ratio. No association was observed between cIMT and leg fat mass. Using generalized linear models, cIMT means were adjusted for age and no significant differences remained after this adjustment. The adjusted mean of cIMT was 0.787 (95% CI: 0.751-0.823) in patients without lipodystrophy, and 0.775 (95% CI: 0.732-0.817) in those with lipodystrophy (p = 0.671).
Conclusions
HIV-infected patients on cART with lipodystrophy defined by FMR, had a significantly higher cIMT. Carotid IMT was also associated with classical cardiovascular risk factors. In these patients, visceral adipose tissue had a significant impact on cIMT, although age was the strongest associated factor.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-348
PMCID: PMC4087129  PMID: 24958511
Lipodystrophy; HIV; Carotid intima media thickness; Fat mass ratio; Body composition
25.  Factors correlated with improvement of endothelial dysfunction during rituximab therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Increased cardiovascular mortality has been associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There are reports indicating that tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers may exert favorable but transient effects on the lipid profile, flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery, and the common carotid intima–media thickness (ccIMT) in RA. We evaluated 38 RA patients (33 females and five males with a mean age of 66.7 ± 10.2 years) who were unresponsive to TNF blockers. The patients received one or more courses of two rituximab (RTX) 1000 mg infusions. Disease activity was evaluated at each visit. Investigations included erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, the 28-joint disease activity score (DAS28), DAS28CRP, the Health Assessment Questionnaire, the FMD percent change from baseline (FMD%), and the postnitroglycerine endothelium-independent vasodilatation. In comparison with the baseline, there was a significant improvement in clinical variables and acute-phase reactants 24 months after the start of RTX therapy. There was also a major improvement in FMD% (from baseline 5.24 ± 1.12 to 5.43 ± 1.16; P = −0.03) and a smaller change in the ccIMT (from baseline 0.69 ± 0.16 to 0.67 ± 0.12 mm P = 0.25). Univariate analysis showed that global health (P < 0.034) was associated with the improvement in FMD%. Multivariate models showed that GH (odds ratio [OR] 0.91; 95% CI: 0.99–0.83; P = 0.032), CD19+ cells (OR 1.024; 95% CI: 1.045–1.003; P = 0.025), IgM (OR 1.025; 95% CI: 1.045–1.004; P = 0.016), and interleukin (IL)-8 (OR 0.487; 95% CI: 0.899–0.264; P = 0.021) were statistically associated with the improvement of FMD%, and that IL-8 (OR 0.717; 95% CI: 0.926–0.555; P = 0.018) was also statistically associated with improvement of ccIMT. The findings of the study confirm that RTX reduces the progression of accelerated atherosclerosis in patients with RA. They also show that improvement in CD19+ cells, IgM and GH after treatment are statistically associated with the improvement of FMD%, and that improvement in IL-8 levels after treatment is statistically associated with improved FMD% and with decrease in the ccIMT.
doi:10.2147/BTT.S39182
PMCID: PMC3603333  PMID: 23526116
rituximab; rheumatoid arthritis; endothelial dysfunction

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