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1.  Socioeconomic Status and Subclinical Coronary Disease in the Whitehall II Epidemiological Study 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8874.
There are pronounced socioeconomic disparities in coronary heart disease, but the extent to which these primarily reflect gradients in underlying coronary artery disease severity or in the clinical manifestation of advanced disease is uncertain. We measured the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) as indexed by grade of employment and coronary artery calcification (CAC) in the Whitehall II epidemiological cohort, and tested the contribution of lifestyle, biological and psychosocial factors in accounting for this association.
Methods and Findings
CAC was assessed in 528 asymptomatic men and women aged 53–76 years, stratified into higher, intermediate and lower by grade of employment groups. Lifestyle (smoking, body mass index, alcohol consumption, physical activity), biological (blood pressure, lipids, fasting glucose, inflammatory markers) and psychosocial factors (work stress, financial strain, social support, depression, hostility, optimism) were also measured. Detectable CAC was present in 293 participants (55.5%). The presence of calcification was related to lifestyle and biological risk factors, but not to grade of employment. But among individuals with detectable calcification, the severity of CAC was inversely associated with grade of employment (p = 0.010), and this relationship remained after controlling for demographic, lifestyle, biological and psychosocial factors. Compared with the higher grade group, there was a mean increase in log Agatston scores of 0.783 (95% C.I. 0.265–1.302, p = 0.003) in the intermediate and 0.941 (C.I. 0.226–1.657, p = 0.010) in the lower grade of employment groups, after adjustment for demographic, lifestyle, biological and psychosocial factors.
Low grade of employment did not predict the presence of calcification in this cohort, but was related to the severity of CAC. These findings suggest that lower SES may be particularly relevant at advanced stages of subclinical coronary artery disease, when calcification has developed.
PMCID: PMC2810334  PMID: 20111604
2.  Plasma heat shock protein 60 and cardiovascular disease risk: the role of psychosocial, genetic, and biological factors 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2007;12(4):384-392.
The Whitehall Study is a prospective epidemiological study of cardiovascular risk factors in healthy members of the British Civil Service, which has identified psychological distress as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. The levels of circulating Hsp60 in 860 participants from the Whitehall cohort and 761 individuals diagnosed with diabetes have been measured and related to psychological, biological, and genetic factors. In the Whitehall participants, concentrations of Hsp60 ranged from undetectable to mg/mL levels. Circulating Hsp60 correlated with total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and was positively associated with a flattened slope of cortisol decline over the day. Levels of this stress protein also correlated with measures of psychological stress including psychological distress, job demand, and low emotional support. Mass spectrometric analysis of circulating immunoreactive Hsp60 reveal that it is predominantly the intact protein with no mitochondrial import peptide, suggesting that this circulating protein emanates from mitochondria. The Hsp60 is stable when added to plasma and the levels in the circulation of individuals are remarkably constant over a 4-year period, suggesting plasma levels are partly genetically controlled. Sequence analysis of the HSP60-HSP10 intergenic promoter region identified a common variant 3175 C>G where the G allele had a frequency of 0.30 and was associated with higher Hsp60 levels in 761 type 2 diabetic patients. The extended range of plasma Hsp60 concentrations in the general population is genuine and is likely to be related to genetic, biological, and psychosocial risk factors for coronary artery disease.
PMCID: PMC2134800  PMID: 18229457

Results 1-2 (2)