Although circulating glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase D, a minor high density lipoprotein-associated protein, is elevated in patients with insulin resistance or high triglycerides, no information is available on the effect of weight loss or changes in insulin sensitivity on circulating glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase D levels.
Determine the effect of weight loss and changes in insulin sensitivity on plasma glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase D levels.
Forty two non-diabetic obese women.
Three month dietary intervention randomizing patients to a low fat or a low carbohydrate diet.
Main outcome measures
Plasma glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase D levels and insulin sensitivity as estimated by the homeostasis model assessment.
The very low carbohydrate diet group lost more weight after 3 months (−7.6 ± 3.2 vs. −4.2 ± 3.5 kg, P < 0.01) although the decrease in insulin resistance was similar between groups. Weight loss with either diet did not alter plasma glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase D levels. However, baseline glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase D levels correlated with the change in insulin sensitivity in response to the low fat diet while baseline insulin sensitivity correlated the change in insulin sensitivity in response to the low carbohydrate diet.
Plasma GPI-PLD may serve as a clinical tool to determine the effect of a low fat diet on insulin sensitivity.
glycosylphosphatidylinositol phospholipase D; diet; obesity; insulin sensitivity; women
Obesity is associated with insulin resistance, chronic low-grade inflammation and atherosclerosis. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) participates in the cross-talk between inflammation and insulin resistance, being activated by both lipopolysaccharide and saturated fatty acids. This study was undertaken to determine whether TLR4 deficiency has a protective role in inflammation, insulin resistance and atherosclerosis induced by a diabetogenic diet.
Methods and Results
TLR4 and LDL receptor double knockout (Tlr4−/−Ldlr−/−) mice and Ldlr−/− mice were fed either a normal chow or a diabetogenic diet for 24 weeks. Tlr4−/−Ldlr−/− mice fed a diabetogenic diet showed improved plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels but developed obesity, hyperinsulinemia and glucose intolerance equivalent to obese Ldlr−/− mice. Adipocyte hypertrophy, macrophage accumulation and local inflammation were not attenuated in intra-abdominal adipose tissue in Tlr4−/−Ldlr−/− mice. However, TLR4 deficiency led to markedly decreased atherosclerosis in obese Tlr4−/−Ldlr−/− mice. Compensatory up-regulation of TLR2 expression was observed both in obese TLR4 deficient mice and in palmitate-treated TLR4-silenced 3T3-L1 adipocytes.
TLR4 deficiency decreases atherosclerosis without affecting obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance in LDL receptor deficient mice. Alternative pathways may be responsible for adipose tissue macrophage infiltration and insulin resistance that occurs in obesity.
Toll-like receptor 4; insulin resistance; atherosclerosis; inflammation; diabetogenic diet
We aim to evaluate the relationship between percent of predicted left ventricular mass (%PredLVM) and valve calcification in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Cardiac valve calcification has been associated with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), which portends cardiovascular events. However, this relationship and its mediators are poorly understood.
MESA is a longitudinal cohort study of men and women aged 45-84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease in whom serial cardiac magnetic resonance and computed tomography imaging were performed. The relationships between baseline %PredLVM and the prevalence, severity, and incidence of aortic valve (AVC) and mitral annulus calcification (MAC) were determined by regression modeling.
Prevalent AVC was observed in 630 and MAC in 442 of 5,042 subjects (median 55.9 and 71.1 Agatston units, respectively). After adjustment for age, gender, body mass index, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, physical activity, diabetes, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking, kidney function, serum lipids, and antihypertensive and statin medications, %PredLVM was associated with prevalent AVC (OR=1.18 per SD increase in %PredLVM [95%CI 1.08 – 1.30]; p=0.0004) and MAC (OR=1.18 [95%CI 1.06 – 1.32]; p=0.002). Similarly, %PredLVM was associated with increased severity of prevalent AVC (risk difference = 0.26 [95%CI 0.15 – 0.38]; p<0.0001) and MAC (risk difference = 0.20 [95%CI 0.03 – 0.37]; p=0.02). During follow-up (mean 2.4±0.9 years), 153 subjects (4%) developed AVC and 198 (5%) MAC. %PredLVM was associated with incident AVC (OR=1.24 [95%CI 1.04 – 1.47]; p=0.02) and MAC (OR=1.18 [1.01-1.40]; p=0.04). Further adjustment for inflammatory markers and coronary artery calcification did not attenuate these associations. Specifically, concentric LVH most strongly predicted incident valve calcification.
Within the MESA cohort, LVH was associated with prevalence, severity, and incidence of valve calcification independent of hypertension and other identified confounders.
aortic valve; calcification; left ventricular mass; mitral valve annulus
glycophosphotidylinosital-specific phospholipase D; high density lipoprotein; atherosclerosis; macrophage; obesity; inflammation
This study aimed to test whether aortic valve calcium (AVC) is independently associated with coronary and cardiovascular events in a primary-prevention population.
Aortic sclerosis is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among the elderly, but the mechanisms underlying this association remain controversial and it is unknown if this association extends to younger individuals.
We performed a prospective analysis of 6,685 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. All subjects, aged 45-84 years and free of clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline, underwent computed tomography for AVC and coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring. The primary, pre-specified combined endpoint of cardiovascular events included myocardial infarctions, fatal and non-fatal strokes, resuscitated cardiac arrest and cardiovascular death, while a secondary combined endpoint of coronary events excluded strokes. The association between AVC and clinical events was assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression with incremental adjustments for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, inflammatory biomarkers and subclinical coronary atherosclerosis.
Over a median follow up of 5.8 [IQR 5.6, 5.9] years, adjusting for demographics and cardiovascular risk factors, subjects with AVC (n=894, 13.4%) had higher risks of cardiovascular (HR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.10-2.03) and coronary (HR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.19-2.49) events compared to those without AVC. Adjustments for inflammatory biomarkers did not alter these associations, but adjustment for CAC substantially attenuated both cardiovascular (HR, 1.32; 95% CI: 0.98-1.78) and coronary (HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 0.98-2.02) event risk. AVC remained predictive of cardiovascular mortality even after full adjustment (HR, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.22-5.21).
In this multiethnic MESA cohort, free of clinical cardiovascular disease, AVC predicts cardiovascular and coronary event risk independent of traditional risk factors and inflammatory biomarkers, likely due to the strong correlation between AVC and subclinical atherosclerosis. The association of AVC with excess cardiovascular mortality beyond coronary atherosclerosis risk merits further investigation.
Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is common in patients with diabetes. Reasons for this are multifactorial, but all relate to a variety of maladaptive responses to acute hyperglycemia. Persistent hyperglycemia is associated with worse left ventricular function and higher mortality during AMI, but intervention data are far from clear. Although there is a theoretical basis for the use of glucose-insulin-potassium infusion during AMI, lack of outcome efficacy (and inability to reach glycemic targets) in recent randomized trials has resulted in little enthusiasm for this strategy. Based on the increasing understanding of the dangers of hypoglycemia, while at the same time appreciating the role of hyperglycemia in AMI patients, goal glucose levels of 140–180 mg/dL using an intravenous insulin infusion while not eating seem reasonable for most patients and hospital systems. Non-glycemic therapy for patients with diabetes and AMI has benefited from more conclusive data, as this population has greater morbidity and mortality than those without diabetes. For ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), reperfusion therapy with primary percutaneous coronary intervention or fibrinolysis, antithrombotic therapy to prevent acute stent thrombosis following percutaneous coronary intervention or rethrombosis following thrombolysis, and initiation of β-blocker therapy are the current standard of care. Emergency coronary artery bypass graft surgery is reserved for the most critically ill. For those with non-STEMI, initial reperfusion therapy or fibrinolysis is not routinely indicated. Overall, there have been dramatic advances for the treatment of people with AMI and diabetes. The use of continuous glucose monitoring in this population may allow better ability to safely reach glycemic targets, which it is hoped will improve glycemic control.
Obesity is characterized by chronic inflammation of adipose tissue, which contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes. Although nitric oxide (NO) signaling has anti-inflammatory effects in the vasculature, whether reduced NO contributes to adipose tissue inflammation is unknown. We sought to determine whether 1) obesity induced by high-fat (HF) diet reduces endothelial nitric oxide signaling in adipose tissue, 2) reduced endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) signaling is sufficient to induce adipose tissue inflammation independent of diet, and 3) increased cGMP signaling can block adipose tissue inflammation induced by HF feeding.
Methods and results
Relative to mice fed a low-fat diet, HF diet markedly reduced phospho-eNOS and phospho-VASP, markers of vascular NO signaling. Expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines was increased in adipose tissue of eNOS−/− mice. Conversely, enhancement of signaling downstream of NO by phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE-5) inhibition using sildenafil attenuated HF-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and the recruitment of macrophages into adipose tissue. Finally, we implicate a role for Vasodilator- stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), a downstream mediator of NO-cGMP signaling in mediating eNOS-induced anti-inflammatory effects since VASP−/− mice recapitulated the pro-inflammatory phenotype displayed by eNOS−/− mice.
These results imply a physiological role for endothelial NO to limit obesity-associated inflammation in adipose tissue and hence identifies the NO-cGMP-VASP pathway as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of diabetes.
Atherosclerotic plaque formation is fueled by the persistence of lipid-laden macrophages in the artery wall. The mechanisms by which these cells become trapped, thereby establishing chronic inflammation, remain unknown. Netrin-1, a neuroimmune guidance cue, was secreted by macrophages in human and mouse atheroma, where it inactivated macrophage migration to chemokines implicated in their egress from plaques. Acting via its receptor UNC5b, netrin-1 inhibited CCL2- and CCL19-directed macrophage migration, Rac1 activation and actin polymerization. Targeted deletion of netrin-1 in macrophagesseverely diminished atherosclerosis progression in Ldlr−/− mice and promoted macrophage emigration from plaques. Thus, netrin-1 promotes atherosclerosis by retaining macrophages in the artery wall and establish a causative role for negative regulators of leukocyte migration in chronic inflammation.
To evaluate mineral metabolism markers as potential risk factors for calcific aortic valve disease.
Mineral metabolism disturbances are common among older people and may contribute to cardiac valvular calcification. Associations of serum mineral metabolism markers with cardiac valvular calcification have not been evaluated in a well-characterized general population of older adults.
We measured serum levels of phosphate, calcium, parathyroid hormone, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in 1,938 Cardiovascular Health Study participants who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease and who underwent echocardiography measurements of aortic valve sclerosis (AVS), mitral annular calcification (MAC), and aortic annular calcification (AAC). We used logistic regression models to estimate associations of mineral metabolism markers with AVS, MAC, and AAC after adjustment for relevant confounding variables, including kidney function.
The respective prevalences of AVS, MAC, and AAC were 54%, 39%, and 44%. Each 0.5 mg/dl higher serum phosphate concentration was associated with a greater adjusted odds of AVS (odds ratio 1.17, 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 1.31, p = 0.01), MAC (odds ratio 1.12, 95% confidence interval 1.00 to 1.26, p =0.05), and AAC (odds ratio 1.12, 95% confidence interval 0.99 to 1.25, p = 0.05). In contrast, serum calcium, parathyroid hormone, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were not associated with aortic or mitral calcification.
Higher serum phosphate levels within the normal range are associated with valvular and annular calcification in a community-based cohort of older adults. Phosphate may be a novel risk factor for calcific aortic valve disease and warrants further study.
Phosphate; Aortic Valve; Mitral Valve; Calcification; Epidemiology
Hypertension has been identified as a risk factor for aortic valve calcium (AVC) but the magnitude of the risk relation with hypertension severity or whether age affects the strength of this risk association has not been studied. The relationship of hypertension severity, as defined by JNC-7 hypertension stages or blood pressure (BP), to CT-assessed AVC prevalence and severity was examined in 4,274 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) without treated hypertension. Analyses were stratified by age < or ≥ 65 years, were adjusted for common cardiovascular risk factors, and excluded those on antihypertensive medications. In age-stratified, adjusted analyses, Stage I/II hypertension was associated with prevalent AVC in those <65 but not in those ≥65 years of age [OR (95% CI): 2.31 (1.35, 3.94) vs. 1.33 (0.96, 1.85), P-interaction = 0.041]. Similarly, systolic BP and pulse pressure (PP) were more strongly associated with prevalent AVC in those <65 than those ≥65 years of age [OR (95% CI): 1.21 (1.08, 1.35) vs. 1.07 (1.01, 1.14) per 10 mmHg increase in systolic BP, Pinteraction = 0.006] and [OR (95% CI): 1.41 (1.21, 1.64) vs. 1.14 (1.05, 1.23) per 10 mmHg increase in PP]. No associations were found between either hypertension stage or BP and AVC severity. In conclusion, stage I/II hypertension, as well as higher systolic pressure and pulse pressure were associated with prevalent AVC. These risk associations were strongest in participants younger than age 65 years.
Blood Pressure; Aortic Valve; Calcification
To determine whether nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (NCBP) therapy is associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular calcification.
Cardiovascular calcification correlates with atherosclerotic disease burden. Experimental data suggest that NCBP may limit cardiovascular calcification, which has implications for disease prevention.
The relationship of NCBP use to the prevalence of aortic valve, aortic valve ring, mitral annulus, thoracic aorta, and coronary artery calcification (AVC, AVRC, MAC, TAC, and CAC, respectively) detected by computed tomography was assessed in 3,636 women within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) using regression modeling.
Analyses were age-stratified because of a significant interaction between age and NCBP use (interaction p-values: AVC p<0.0001; AVRC p<0.0001; MAC p=0.002; TAC p<0.0001; CAC p=0.046). After adjusting for age, body mass index, demographics, diabetes, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and statin, hormone replacement, and renin-angiotensin inhibitor therapy, NCBP use was associated with a lower prevalence of cardiovascular calcification in women ≥65 years old (prevalence ratio [95% confidence interval]: AVC 0.68 [0.41, 1.13]; AVRC 0.65 [0.51, 0.84]; MAC 0.54 [0.33, 0.93]; TAC 0.69 [0.54, 0.88]; CAC 0.89 [0.78, 1.02]), whereas calcification was more prevalent in NCBP users among the 2,181 women <65 years old (AVC 4.00 [2.33, 6.89]; AVRC 1.92 [1.42, 2.61]; MAC 2.35 [1.12, 4.84]; TAC 2.17 [1.49, 3.15]; CAC 1.23 [0.97, 1.57]).
Among women in the diverse MESA cohort, NCBPs were associated with decreased prevalence of cardiovascular calcification in older subjects, but more prevalent cardiovascular calcification in younger ones. Further study is warranted to clarify these age-dependent NCBP effects.
bisphosphonate; calcification; coronary artery; valve; vascular
To examine the impact of low density lipoprotein (LDL), an established mediator of atherosclerosis, on the transcription factor, cAMP Response Element Binding Protein (CREB), a regulator of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) quiescence.
Methods and Results
VSMC CREB content is diminished in rodent models of diabetes and pulmonary hypertension. We examined aortic CREB content in rodent models of aging, hypertension and insulin resistance, and determined nuclear CREB protein in the medial VSMC of high fat-fed LDL receptor null mice. There was significant loss of CREB protein in all models. In vitro, primary culture rat aortic VSMC exposed to LDL and oxidized LDL (oxLDL) exhibited a rapid, transient increase in CREB phosphorylation and transient phosphorylation/activation of Akt and P38-, ERK- and JNK-MAPK. Exposure to oxLDL, but not LDL, for 24 – 48 h decreased CREB protein in a dose-dependent fashion and led to nuclear exclusion of CREB. Pharmacological reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavengers and inhibition of ERK activation blocked oxLDL-mediated CREB downregulation.
These data support a model wherein loss of VSMC CREB protein, which renders these cells more susceptible to activation and apoptosis, is a common pathological response to vascular injury and potentially contributes to plaque progression.
Aortic valve calcium (AVC) is common among older adults and shares epidemiologic and histopathologic similarities to atherosclerosis. However, prospective studies have failed to identify meaningful risk-associations with incident (“new”) AVC or its progression. In this study, AVC was quantified from serial computed tomography (CT) images in 5,880 participants (aged 45–84 years) of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, using Agatston methodology. Multivariate backwards selection modeling was used to identify risk factors for incident AVC and AVC progression. During a mean follow up of 2.4±0.9 years, 210 subjects (4.0%) developed incident AVC. The incidence rate (mean 1.7 %/year) increased significantly with age (p<0.001). Risk factors for incident AVC included age, male gender, BMI, current smoking, and the use of lipid lowering and antihypertensive medications. Among those with AVC at baseline, the median rate of AVC progression was 2 Agatston units/year [IQR −21, 37]. Baseline Agatston score was a strong, independent predictor of progression, especially among those with high calcium scores at baseline. In conclusion, in this ethnically diverse, pre-clinical cohort, the rate of incident AVC a significantly with age. Incident AVC risk was associated with several traditional cardiovascular risk factors, specifically age, male gender, BMI, current smoking, and the use of both antihypertensive and lipid lowering medications. AVC progression risk was associated with male gender and the baseline Agatston score. Additional research is needed to determine if age- and stage-specific mechanisms underlie risk for AVC progression.
valves; calcium; risk factors; epidemiology; imaging
Mean maximum carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) is associated with both coronary artery disease and cerebral thromboembolism. Thoracic aortic calcification (TAC) detected by computed tomography (CT) is also highly associated with vascular disease and cardiovascular risk. No previous study has examined the relationship between CIMT and TAC in a large patient cohort. We performed a cross-sectional study to determine whether, at baseline, there is a relationship between CIMT and CT-determined TAC score.
In the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, the study cohort included a population based sample of four ethnic groups (Chinese, White, Hispanic and African-American) of 6814 women and men ages 45-84 years. After exclusion of 198 persons due to incomplete information, we compared results of 6616 participants with both CIMT and TAC. TAC was measured from the lower edge of the pulmonary artery bifurcation to the cardiac apex. CIMT at the common carotid artery site was represented as the mean maximal CIMT of the right and left near and far walls, respectively. Multivariable relative risk regression analysis was used to evaluate relationships between TAC and CIMT.
The prevalence of TAC was 28% (n=1846) and the mean maximum (±SD) CIMT was 0.87±0.19 mm. A higher prevalence of TAC was noted across increasing CIMT quartiles (1st: 12%, 2nd: 21%, 3rd: 30%, 4th: 49%, P<0.0001). One standard deviation increase in CIMT was associated with a 16% higher likelihood for presence of TAC after adjusting for demographics and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (95% CI: 1.12-1.26). In addition, individuals with CIMT in the highest quartile, as compared to those with CIMT in the first quartile, had a 76% higher likelihood for presence of TAC (prevalence ratio [PR]: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.37-2.26). In race-ethnic stratified analyses, similar associations were seen in all groups. Among those with TAC>0, a higher CIMT was significantly associated with continuous TAC scores (log transformed) in the overall population as well as among all ethnic-racial groups.
Our study demonstrates that TAC is associated with increasing severity of carotid atherosclerotic burden as measured by CIMT. The combined utility of these two noninvasive measures of subclinical atherosclerosis for CVD risk assessment needs to be determined in future studies.
Atherosclerosis; carotid IMT; aortic calcification; ethnic; cardiac CT
Though abnormal lipoproteins and lipoprotein ratios are powerful risk factors for clinical cardiovascular (CV) events, these associations are stronger in younger compared to older age. Whether age modifies the relationships of lipoproteins and lipoprotein ratios to the relative risk for subclinical CV disease (CVD), as assessed by coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores, has not been examined in a contemporary, multi-ethnic cohort. We performed multivariate relative risk regression to determine the relative risks (RRs) for associations of lipoproteins and lipoprotein ratios with prevalent CAC in participants in MESA. Participants were community-dwelling adults ages 45–84 years without baseline clinically apparent CVD. We excluded those on lipid lowering therapy (15%), and stratified results by decades of age. 5,092 participants met inclusion criteria. In fully adjusted models, per standard deviation (SD) of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), age-stratified, adjusted relative risks (RRs) for CAC were 1.17 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.07–1.28) for those aged 45–54 but 1.05 (95% CI 1.01–1.10) for those aged 75–84 (p-interaction = 0.12). The RR per SD of Total/HDL cholesterol ratio was 1.20 (95% CI 1.12–1.29) for those aged 45–54 but only 1.04 (1.00–1.09) for those aged 75–84 (p-interaction <0.001). Lipoproteins and lipoprotein ratios were associated with increased RRs for CAC across all age categories. However, these associations were markedly attenuated by age. In conclusion, abnormal lipoproteins in middle age are a powerful risk factor for early atherosclerosis as manifested by prevalent CAC.
lipoproteins; age; coronary artery calcium
Obesity is associated with monocyte-macrophage accumulation in adipose tissue. Previously, we showed that glucose-stimulated production by adipocytes of serum amyloid A (SAA), monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, and hyaluronan (HA) facilitated monocyte accumulation. The current objective was to determine how the other major nutrient, free fatty acids (FFAs), affects these molecules and monocyte recruitment by adipocytes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Differentiated 3T3-L1, Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome adipocytes, and mouse embryonic fibroblasts were exposed to various FFAs (250 μmol/l) in either 5 or 25 mmol/l (high) glucose for evaluation of SAA, MCP-1, and HA regulation in vitro.
Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) such as laurate, myristate, and palmitate increased cellular triglyceride accumulation, SAA, and MCP-1 expression; generated reactive oxygen species (ROS); and increased nuclear factor (NF) κB translocation in both 5 and 25 mmol/l glucose. Conversely, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as arachidonate, eicosapentaenate, and docosahexaenate (DHA) decreased these events. Gene expression could be dissociated from triglyceride accumulation. Although excess glucose increased HA content, SFAs, oleate, and linoleate did not. Antioxidant treatment repressed glucose- and palmitate-stimulated ROS generation and NFκB translocation and decreased SAA and MCP-1 expression and monocyte chemotaxis. Silencing toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) markedly reduced SAA and MCP-1 expression in response to palmitate but not glucose. DHA suppressed NFκB translocation stimulated by both excess glucose and palmitate via a peroxisome prolifterator–activated receptor (PPAR) γ–dependent pathway.
Excess glucose and SFAs regulate chemotactic factor expression by a mechanism that involves ROS generation, NFκB, and PPARγ, and which is repressed by PUFAs. Certain SFAs, but not excess glucose, trigger chemotactic factor expression via a TLR4-dependent pathway.
Cardiac computed tomography (CT) is a well-established tool for the detection of cardiovascular calcium. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is highly sensitive for the detection of coronary artery disease (CAD) as well as predictive of future cardiovascular (CV) events. Descending thoracic aortic calcification (DTAC) is common in the elderly and its presence is also associated with increased risk of CV events. Previous studies demonstrate that DTAC is associated with obstructive CAD and coronary risk factors. However, no prior studies have examined the association of CAC and DTAC as detected by cardiac CT in a large population-based cohort.
In the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, the study population included a population based sample of four ethnic groups (Chinese, White, Hispanic and African-American) of 6814 women and men ages 45−84 years old. Participants underwent non-enhanced cardiac CT and both CAC and DTAC were quantified. DTAC was measured from the lower edge of the pulmonary artery bifurcation to the cardiac apex. Multivariable relative risk regression was used to evaluate relationships between CAC, DTAC and measured cardiovascular risk factors.
Overall 3030 (44%) did not demonstrate any detectable CAC or DTAC. A total of 1930 (28%) had only CAC, 386 (6%) had isolated DTAC, and 1464 (22%) participants were found to have both CAC and DTAC. CAC had a higher prevalence than DTAC in men (58% vs. 45%). Participants with DTAC were older than those with CAC (mean age was 71 and 66 years old, respectively). Participants with DTAC had increased risk for the presence of CAC independent of cardiovascular risk factors (prevalence ratio [PR]; 1.17 95% CI 1.07−1.28). Severity of DTAC was a stronger predictor of the presence of CAC in women as compared to men (PR; 1.04 95% CI 1.02 −1.06, and PR; 0.99 95% CI 0.98− 1.01, respectively).
DTAC was found to be a strong predictor of CAC independent of CV risk factors. Ongoing follow-up of this cohort will evaluate whether DTAC is an independent marker of risk for CV events.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has been associated with increased prevalence of aortic valve calcium (AVC) and with increased progression of aortic stenosis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether MetS is associated with increased risks for the development of new (“incident”) AVC or for progression of established AVC as assessed by CT.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The relationships of MetS or its components as well as of diabetes to risks for incident AVC or AVC progression were studied among participants with CT scans performed at baseline and at either year 2 or year 3 examinations in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Of 5,723 MESA participants meeting criteria for inclusion, 1,674 had MetS by Adult Treatment Panel III criteria, whereas 761 had diabetes. Among the 5,123 participants without baseline AVC, risks for incident AVC, adjusted for time between scans, age, sex, race/ethnicity, LDL cholesterol, lipid-lowering medications, and smoking, were increased significantly for MetS (odds ratio [OR] 1.67 [95% CI 1.21–2.31]) or diabetes (2.06 [1.39–3.06]). In addition, there was an increase in incident AVC risk with increasing number of MetS components. Similar results were found using the International Diabetes Federation MetS criteria. Among the 600 participants (10.5%) with baseline AVC, neither MetS nor diabetes was associated with AVC progression.
In the MESA cohort, MetS was associated with a significant increase in incident (“new”) AVC, raising the possibility that MetS may be a potential therapeutic target to prevent AVC development.
Chronic systemic inflammation accompanies obesity and predicts development of cardiovascular disease. Dietary cholesterol has been shown to increase inflammation and atherosclerosis in LDL receptor-deficient (LDLR-/-) mice. This study was undertaken to determine whether dietary cholesterol and obesity have additive effects on inflammation and atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
LDLR-/- mice were fed chow, high fat, high carbohydrate (diabetogenic) diet without (DD) or with added cholesterol (DDC) for 24 weeks. Effects on adipose tissue, inflammatory markers and atherosclerosis were studied. Despite similar weight gain between DD and DDC groups, addition of dietary cholesterol increased insulin resistance relative to DD. Adipocyte hypertrophy, macrophage accumulation and local inflammation were observed in intra-abdominal adipose tissue in DD and DDC, but were significantly higher in the DDC group. Circulating levels of the inflammatory protein serum amyloid A (SAA) were 4.4-fold higher in DD animals and 15-fold higher in DDC animals than controls, suggesting chronic systemic inflammation. Hepatic SAA mRNA levels were similarly elevated. Atherosclerosis was increased in the DD-fed animals and further increased in the DDC group.
Obesity-induced macrophage accumulation in adipose tissue is exacerbated by dietary cholesterol. These local inflammatory changes in adipose tissue are associated with insulin resistance, systemic inflammation and increased atherosclerosis in this mouse model.
atherosclerosis; inflammation; obesity; lipoproteins; diet
The transcription factors, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) alpha (α) and gamma (γ), which are involved in lipid and glucose homeostasis, also exert modulatory actions on vascular cells where they exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties. Hence PPAR agonists potentially can affect atherogenesis both via metabolic effects and direct effects on the vessel wall. We tested whether the dual PPAR-α/γ agonist, tesaglitazar (TZ), would reduce atherosclerosis in a non-diabetic, atherosclerosis-prone mouse model, independent of effects on plasma lipids.
Methods and results
Low-density lipoprotein receptor deficient (LDLr −/−) mice were fed a Western type diet consisting of 21% butterfat and 0.15% cholesterol, with or without TZ 0.5 μmol/kg of diet, for 12 weeks. TZ reduced atherosclerosis in the female, but not male, LDLr −/− mice without affecting cholesterol and triglyceride levels, HDL binding to biglycan, or the inflammatory markers serum amyloid A (SAA) and serum amyloid P (SAP). TZ also decreased adiposity in both genders.
TZ reduced atherosclerosis in the female LDLr−/− mice via lipid-independent mechanisms, probably at least in part by direct actions on the vessels. The body weight changes in these mice are different from the effects of dual PPAR agonists seen in humans.
Atherosclerosis; dual PPAR agonist; LDL receptor deficient mice; tesaglitazar
To prospectively evaluate if there is an association between plaque enhancement at magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and proinflammatory cardiovascular risk factors and plaque content.
Materials and Methods
This study was performed with informed consent, HIPAA compliance, and institutional review board approval. Contrast agent dynamics within carotid plaques were measured in 30 patients (29 men, one woman; mean age, 67.7 years ± 10.7 [standard deviation]) who were scheduled to undergo carotid endarterectomy. Measurements were based on kinetic modeling of images obtained at 15-second intervals during which a gadolinium-based contrast agent was injected. The time-varying signal intensities within the plaques were used to estimate the fractional plasma volume (vp) and transfer constant (Ktrans) of contrast material into the extracellular space. Pearson correlation coefficients were computed between blinded MR measurements and histologic measurements of plaque composition, including macrophages, neovasculature, necrotic core, calcification, loose matrix, and dense fibrous tissue. Correlation coefficients or mean differences were computed regarding clinical markers of cardiovascular risk.
Analyzable MR images and histologic results were obtained in 27 patients. Measurements of Ktrans correlated with macrophage (r = 0.75, P < .001), neovasculature (r = 0.71, P <.001), and loose matrix (r = 0.50, P = .01) content. Measurements of vp correlated with macrophage (r = 0.54, P = .004), neovasculature (r = 0.68, P <.001), and loose matrix (r = 0.42, P = .03) content. For clinical parameters, significant associations were correlated with Ktrans only, with decreased high-density lipoprotein levels (r = −0.66, P <.001) and elevated Ktrans measurements in smokers compared with nonsmokers (mean, 0.134 min−1 vs 0.074 min−1, respectively; P = .01).
The correlations between Ktrans and histologic markers of inflammation suggest that Ktrans is a quantitative and non-invasive marker of plaque inflammation, which is further supported by the correlation of Ktrans with proinflammatory cardiovascular risk factors, decreased high-density lipoprotein levels, and smoking.
Abbreviations: HDL = high-density lipoprotein; K trans = transfer constant; vp = fractional plasma volume
The severity index is a new echocardiographic measure that is thought to be an accurate indicator of aortic leaflet pathology in patients with AS. However, it has not been validated against cardiac catheterization or Doppler echocardiographic measures of AS severity nor has it been applied to patients with aortic sclerosis. The purposes of this study were to compare the severity index to invasive hemodynamics and Doppler echocardiography across the spectrum of calcific aortic valve disease, including aortic sclerosis and AS. 48 patients with aortic sclerosis and AS undergoing echocardiography and cardiac catheterization comprised the study population. The aortic valve leaflets were assessed for mobility (scale 1 to 6) and calcification (scale 1 to 4) and the severity index was calculated as the sum of the mobility and calcification scores according to the methods of Bahler et al. The severity index increased with increasing severity of aortic valve disease; the severity indices for patients with aortic sclerosis, mild to moderate AS and severe AS were 3.38 ± 1.06, 6.45 ± 2.16 and 8.38 ± 1.41, respectively. The aortic jet velocity by echocardiography and the square root of the maximum aortic valve gradient by cardiac catheterization correlated well with the severity index (r = 0.84, p < 0.0001; r = 0.84, p < 0.0001, respectively). These results confirm that the severity index correlates with hemodynamic severity of aortic valve disease and may prove to be a useful measure in patients with aortic sclerosis and AS.
Limited information is available regarding genetic contributions to valvular calcification, which is an important precursor of clinical valve disease.
We determined genomewide associations with the presence of aorticvalve calcification (among 6942 participants) and mitral annular calcification (among 3795 participants), as detected by computed tomographic (CT) scanning; the study population for this analysis included persons of white European ancestry from three cohorts participating in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium (discovery population). Findings were replicated in independent cohorts of persons with either CT-detected valvular calcification or clinical aortic stenosis.
One SNP in the lipoprotein(a) (LPA) locus (rs10455872) reached genomewide significance for the presence of aorticvalve calcification (odds ratio per allele, 2.05; P = 9.0×10−10), a finding that was replicated in additional white European, African-American, and Hispanic-American cohorts (P<0.05 for all comparisons). Genetically determined Lp(a) levels, as predicted by LPA genotype, were also associated with aorticvalve calcification, supporting a causal role for Lp(a). In prospective analyses, LPA genotype was associated with incident aortic stenosis (hazard ratio per allele, 1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32 to 2.15) and aortic-valve replacement (hazard ratio, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.27) in a large Swedish cohort; the association with incident aortic stenosis was also replicated in an independent Danish cohort. Two SNPs (rs17659543 and rs13415097) near the proinflammatory gene IL1F9 achieved genomewide significance for mitral annular calcification (P = 1.5×10−8 and P = 1.8×10−8, respectively), but the findings were not replicated consistently.
Genetic variation in the LPA locus, mediated by Lp(a) levels, is associated with aorticvalve calcification across multiple ethnic groups and with incident clinical aortic stenosis. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.)
Adipose tissue inflammation and specifically, pro-inflammatory macrophages are believed to contribute to insulin resistance (IR) in obesity in humans and animal models. Recent studies have invoked T cells in the recruitment of pro-inflammatory macrophages and the development of IR. To test the role of the T cell response in adipose tissue of mice fed an obesogenic diet, we used two agents (CTLA-4 Ig and anti-CD40L antibody) that block co-stimulation, which is essential for full T cell activation. C57BL/6 mice were fed an obesogenic diet for 16 weeks, and concomitantly either treated with CTLA-4 Ig, anti-CD40L antibody or an IgG control (300 µg/week). The treatments altered the immune cell composition of adipose tissue in obese mice. Treated mice demonstrated a marked reduction in pro-inflammatory adipose tissue macrophages and activated CD8+ T cells. Mice treated with anti-CD40L exhibited reduced weight gain, which was accompanied by a trend toward improved IR. CTLA-4 Ig treatment, however, was not associated with improved IR. These data suggest that the presence of pro-inflammatory T cells and macrophages can be altered with co-stimulatory inhibitors, but may not be a significant contributor to the whole body IR phenotype.