The measurement of carotid intima-medial thickness is a well validated measure of cardiovascular risk. Although atherosclerosis occurs in the intima, this arterial layer is not measured alone due to limitation in ultrasound resolution with standard frequency probes.
We evaluated the feasibility of using a 55-MHz ultrasound system with high resolution to measure intima thickness in several vascular territories compared to a “standard” frequency probe.
The intima and medial thickness was measured in the brachial, radial and tibial arteries in 10 healthy subjects and 5 subjects with peripheral arterial disease. The high frequency ultrasound probe showed superior resolution compared to the standard frequency probe allowing for measurement of intima separately from media.
The intima can be measured independently of media with a high degree of reproducibility using a high frequency probe. This technology may allow for early detection of cardiovascular risk and extend knowledge about the physiological changes in the early atherosclerotic development.
Claudication is a common and disabling symptom of peripheral artery disease that can be treated with medication, supervised exercise or stent revascularization.
We randomly assigned 111 patients with aortoiliac peripheral artery disease to receive one of three treatments: optimal medical care [OMC], OMC plus supervised exercise [(SE], or OMC plus stent revascularization [ST]. The primary endpoint was the change in peak walking time (PWT) on a graded treadmill test at 6 months as compared with baseline. Secondary endpoints included free-living step activity, quality of life (QOL) using the Walking Impairment Questionnaire (WIQ) and Peripheral Artery Questionnaire (PAQ), and cardiovascular risk factors.
At six month follow-up, change in PWT (the primary endpoint) was greatest for SE, intermediate for ST, and least with OMC (mean change vs. baseline 5.8±4.6, 3.7±4.9, and 1.2±2.6 minutes, respectively; p<0.001 for the comparison of SE vs. OMC; p=0.02 for ST vs. OMC; and p=0.04 for SE vs. ST). Although disease-specific quality of life as assessed by the WIQ and PAQ also improved with both SE and ST compared with OMC, for most scales the extent of improvement was greater with ST than SE. Free-living step activity increased more with ST than with either SE or OMC alone (114±274 vs. 73±139 vs. −6±109 steps/hour) but these differences were not statistically significant.
Supervised exercise treatment results in superior treadmill walking performance than stent placement, even for those with aortoiliac PAD. The contrast between better walking performance for SE and better patient-reported QOL for ST warrants further study.
Approximately 13 percent of aortic valves removed from patients with end-stage aortic valve disease contain heterotopic ossification (HO). Recently, we identified a novel population of circulating osteogenic precursor (COP) cells which are derived from bone marrow and have the capability to form bone. These cells are identified by co-expression of osteogenic marker types 1 collagen or osteoclacin (OCN) and the hematopoietic marker CD45. We tested the hypothesis that these cells may contribute to heart valve stenosis.
Methods and Results
Quantification of CD45+ OCN+ COP cells by flow cytometry showed that they represent up to 1.1 percent of mononuclear cells. Clonally-derived COP cells produce bone morphogenetic proteins 2 and 4 by immunohistochemical analysis. We reviewed 105 cases of end-stage aortic valvular disease and confirmed HO in 13 archived specimens. Using immunohistochemistry, we identified COP cells by co-expression of CD45 and type 1 collagen. There was a statistically significant association between the presence of COP cells and early HO lesions. COP cells were negligible in regions of unaffected valve leaflets (no HO) from the same individuals.
This study provides the first evidence that osteogenic cells in the blood home to sites of vascular injury and are associated with HO formation in heart valves.
Heart valves; blood cells; pathology; aging; collagen
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is associated with increased mortality risk in the general population. Although individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at markedly increased mortality risk, the incidence, prevalence, and prognosis of CAC in CKD is not well-understood.
Cross-sectional observational study.
Setting and Participants
Analysis of 1,908 participants who underwent coronary calcium scanning as part of the multi-ethnic CRIC (Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort) Study.
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) computed using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) Study equation, stratified by race, sex and diabetic status. eGFR was treated as a continous variable and a categorical variable compared to the reference range of >60 ml/min/1.73 m2
CAC detected using CT scans using either an Imatron C-300 electron beam computed tomography scanner or multi-detector CT scanner. CAC was computed using the Agatston score, as a categorical variable. Analyses were performed using ordinal logistic regression.
We found a strong and graded relationship between lower eGFR and increasing CAC. In unadjusted models, ORs increased from 1.68 (95% CI, 1.23–2.31) for eGFR from 50–59 to 2.82 (95% CI, 2.06–3.85) for eGFR of <30. Multivariable adjustment only partially attenuated the results (OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.07–2.20) for eGFR<30.
Use of eGFR rather than measured GFR.
We demonstrated a graded relationship between severity of CKD and CAC, independent of traditional risk factors. These findings supports recent guidelines that state that if vascular calcification is present, it should be considered as a complementary component to be included in the decision making required for individualizing treatment of CKD.
Clinical palpation of a pulsating abdominal mass alerts the clinician to the presence of a possible abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Generally an arterial aneurysm is defined as a localized arterial dilatation ≥50 % greater than the normal diameter. Imaging studies are important in diagnosing the cause of a pulsatile abdominal mass and, if an AAA is found, in determining its size and involvement of abdominal branches. Ultrasound (US) is the initial imaging modality of choice when a pulsatile abdominal mass is present. Noncontrast computed tomography (CT) may be substituted in patients for whom US is not suitable. When aneurysms have reached the size threshold for intervention or are clinically symptomatic, contrast-enhanced multidetector CT angiography (CTA) is the best diagnostic and preintervention planning study, accurately delineating the location, size, and extent of aneurysm and the involvement of branch vessels. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) may be substituted if CT cannot be performed. Catheter arteriography has some utility in patients with significant contraindications to both CTA and MRA. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria® are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed every 2 years by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and review include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of a well-established consensus methodology (modified Delphi) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures by the panel. In those instances where evidence is lacking or not definitive, expert opinion may be used to recommend imaging or treatment.
Appropriateness criteria; Aortic aneurysm; Ultrasonography; Computed tomography; Magnetic resonance angiography; Catheter arteriography
The purpose of these guidelines is to recommend appropriate imaging for patients with blunt chest trauma. These patients are most often imaged in the emergency room, and thus emergency radiologists play a substantial role in prompt, accurate diagnoses that, in turn, can lead to life-saving interventions. The ACR Appropriateness Criteria® are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed every 2 years by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and review include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of a well-established consensus methodology (modified Delphi) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures by the panel. In those instances where evidence is lacking or not definitive, expert opinion may be used to recommend imaging or treatment. Imaging largely focuses on the detection and exclusion of traumatic aortic injury; a large proportion of patients are victims of motor vehicle accidents. For those patients who survive the injury and come to emergency radiology, rapid, appropriate assessment of patients who require surgery is paramount.
Appropriateness criteria; Traumatic aortic injury; Thoracic aorta; Blunt trauma; CT; MRI
Quantitative measures are needed to identify diabetic patients at higher risk for CV events. Cell derived microparticles (MPs) are submicron membrane vesicles released from activated cells that are indicative of cell damage. Progenitor cells (PCs) including pro-angiogenic cells (PACs), often termed endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), are mediators of reparative capacity. We examined whether the relationship of MPs to PCs/PACs could be used as an improved and clinically feasible index of vascular pathology.
Methods and Results
Plasma samples were collected from patients with early-stage (ES, Diagnosis<1yr) and long-term (LT, Diagnosis>5yrs,) type 2 diabetes and compared to age related healthy subjects (H). PC and MP subtypes were measured by a combination of flow cytometry and ELISA based methods. The ratio of pro-coagulant MPs/CD34+ PCs proved a valuable index to distinguish between subject groups (P=0.01). This index of compromised vascular function was highest in the LT group despite intensive statin therapy and was more informative than a range of soluble protein biomarkers.
This is the first report of a relationship between MPs and PCs in type 2 diabetes. This ratio may provide a quantitative and clinically feasible measurement of vascular dysfunction and cardiovascular risk in patients with diabetes.
Endothelial; progenitor; vascular; diabetes; microparticles
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) may provide cardiovascular protection by promoting reverse cholesterol transport from macrophages. We hypothesized that the capacity of HDL to accept cholesterol from macrophages would serve as a predictor of atherosclerotic burden.
We measured cholesterol efflux capacity in 203 healthy volunteers who underwent assessment of carotid artery intima–media thickness, 442 patients with angiographically confirmed coronary artery disease, and 351 patients without such angiographically confirmed disease. We quantified efflux capacity by using a validated ex vivo system that involved incubation of macrophages with apolipoprotein B–depleted serum from the study participants.
The levels of HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I were significant determinants of cholesterol efflux capacity but accounted for less than 40% of the observed variation. An inverse relationship was noted between efflux capacity and carotid intima–media thickness both before and after adjustment for the HDL cholesterol level. Furthermore, efflux capacity was a strong inverse predictor of coronary disease status (adjusted odds ratio for coronary disease per 1-SD increase in efflux capacity, 0.70; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59 to 0.83; P<0.001). This relationship was attenuated, but remained significant, after additional adjustment for the HDL cholesterol level (odds ratio per 1-SD increase, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.63 to 0.90; P = 0.002) or apolipoprotein A-I level (odds ratio per 1-SD increase, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.61 to 0.89; P = 0.002). Additional studies showed enhanced efflux capacity in patients with the metabolic syndrome and low HDL cholesterol levels who were treated with pioglitazone, but not in patients with hypercholesterolemia who were treated with statins.
Cholesterol efflux capacity from macrophages, a metric of HDL function, has a strong inverse association with both carotid intima–media thickness and the likelihood of angiographic coronary artery disease, independently of the HDL cholesterol level. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.)
Fibrocalcific aortic stenosis (AS) results from an active process similar to atherosclerosis that involves basement membrane disruption, lipid deposition, inflammatory cell infiltration, and calcification. Consequently, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) have been extensively studied as potential therapeutic agents capable of slowing the progression of AS. However, two randomized trials, SALTIRE and the SEAS study, showed no benefit with statin therapy for AS. These results have shed doubt over the efficacy of statin therapy for AS, although their potential efficacy at early stages of aortic valve disease remains possible. In this article, we review the pathophysiology of fibrocalcific AS and discuss future directions for its nonsurgical management in the post-SEAS era.
Calcification; Aortic valve; Statin; Stenosis
Fetuin-A is an inhibitor of vascular calcification and a mediator of insulin resistance. This study evaluated the association of plasma fetuin-A and peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A total of 738 individuals with type 2 diabetes (mean age 58.7 years, 37.1% female) without known cardiovascular or kidney disease were included in this cross-sectional analysis.
Subjects with PAD had a significantly lower fetuin-A (264.3 vs. 293.4 ng/dl, P < 0.001). In multivariable analysis, a 1-SD decrease in fetuin-A increased the odds of PAD (odds ratio 1.6, P = 0.02). Subgroup analysis revealed an increased odds even in subjects with glomerular filtration rate >80 (odds ratio 1.9, P = 0.05) or high-sensitivity C-reactive protein <3 mg/dl (odds ratio 2.7, P = 0.002).
Lower circulating fetuin-A is associated with PAD in type 2 diabetes beyond traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors. Our findings suggest a potentially unique role for fetuin-A deficiency as a biomarker of PAD in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) is a calcium-independent phospholipase A2 enzyme secreted by leukocytes and associated with circulating low-density lipoprotein and macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques. Until recently, the biological role of Lp-PLA2 in atherosclerosis was controversial, but now the preponderance of evidence demonstrates a proatherogenic role of this enzyme. Lp-PLA2 generates two proinflammatory mediators, lysophosphatidylcholine and oxidized nonesterified fatty acids, which play a major role in the development of atherosclerotic lesions and formation of a necrotic core, leading to more vulnerable plaques. These findings have opened the door to a potential novel therapeutic target, selective inhibition of Lp-LPA2. Recently, both animal models and human studies have shown that selective inhibition of Lp-PLA2 reduces plasma Lp-PLA2 activity, plaque area, and necrotic core area. This article reviews the most recent developments with Lp-PLA2 inhibitors.
Phospholipase; Lipoprotein; Atherosclerosis; Myocardial infarction; Atherothrombosis
To evaluate the role of membrane cholesterol on human neutrophil and HL-60 biomechanics, capture, rolling, and arrest to P-selectin or IL-1-activated endothelium.
Methods and Results
Methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) removed up to 73% and 45% of membrane cholesterol from HL-60 cells and neutrophils, while MβCD/cholesterol complexes resulted in maximum enrichment of 65% and 40%, respectively, above control levels. Cells were perfused at a venous wall shear rate of 100 s−1 over adherent P-selectin-coated 1-µm diameter beads, uncoated 10-µm diameter beads, P-selectin-coated surfaces, or activated endothelium. Elevated cholesterol enhanced capture efficiency to 1-µm beads and increased membrane tether growth rate by 1.5- to 2-fold, whereas cholesterol depletion greatly reduced tether formation. Elevated cholesterol levels increased tether lifetime by 17% in neutrophils and adhesion lifetime by 63% in HL-60 cells. Deformation of cholesterol-enriched neutrophils increased the contact time with 10-µm beads by 32% and the contact area by 7-fold. On both P-selectin surfaces and endothelial-cell monolayers, cholesterol-enriched neutrophils rolled more slowly, more stably, and were more likely to firmly arrest. Cholesterol depletion resulted in opposite effects.
Increasing membrane cholesterol enhanced membrane tether formation and whole cell deformability, contributing to slower, more stable rolling on P-selectin and increased firm arrest on activated endothelium.
neutrophils; cholesterol; cell adhesion; endothelium; membrane; inflammation
Increased lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) activity is associated with increased risk of cardiac events, but it is not known whether Lp-PLA2 is a causative agent. Here we show that selective inhibition of Lp-PLA2 with darapladib reduced development of advanced coronary atherosclerosis in diabetic and hypercholesterolemic swine. Darapladib markedly inhibited plasma and lesion Lp-PLA2 activity and reduced lesion lysophosphatidylcholine content. Analysis of coronary gene expression showed that darapladib exerted a general anti-inflammatory action, substantially reducing the expression of 24 genes associated with macrophage and T lymphocyte functioning. Darapladib treatment resulted in a considerable decrease in plaque area and, notably, a markedly reduced necrotic core area and reduced medial destruction, resulting in fewer lesions with an unstable phenotype. These data show that selective inhibition of Lp-PLA2 inhibits progression to advanced coronary atherosclerotic lesions and confirms a crucial role of vascular inflammation independent from hypercholesterolemia in the development of lesions implicated in the pathogenesis of myocardial infarction and stroke.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common manifestation of systemic atherosclerosis and is associated with a high risk of stroke, myocardial infarction and cardiovascular death. PAD also fosters major morbidity by causing claudication, functional impairment, disability and amputation. PAD is largely unrecognized and under-treated compared with other cardiovascular diseases. The public health impact of PAD, as a contributor to Canadian national rates of heart attack, stroke, amputation, death and disability, will be challenging to address if the public is unaware of this common cardiovascular disease.
To assess public knowledge of PAD in Canada.
A cross-sectional, population-based telephone survey of 501 adults 50 years of age and older (mean age 64.4 years) was conducted using random digit dialing. The survey assessed demographics and risk factors of the study population and knowledge of PAD causes and consequences.
Survey respondents reported a high prevalence of atherosclerotic risk factors including high blood pressure (43%), high blood cholesterol (37%), diabetes (12%) and smoking history (18% current and 49% former smokers). Only 36% of respondents reported familiarity with PAD, which was significantly lower than other cardiovascular diseases or risk factors. Knowledge of perceived consequences of PAD was low and knowledge gaps were more pronounced in older, less educated and lower income respondents.
The Canadian public is largely unaware of PAD as a prevalent systemic manifestation of atherosclerosis and its associated morbidity and mortality. National PAD awareness programs should be instituted to increase PAD knowledge to levels comparable with other cardiovascular diseases and risk factors.
Cardiovascular disease; Claudication; Myocardial infarction; Peripheral arterial disease; Prevention; Risk factors
Inwardly-rectifying K+ (Kir) channels are responsible for maintaining membrane potentials in a variety of cell types including endothelial cells where they modulate endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation. The goal of this study is to determine the functional expression of Kir channels in porcine bone marrow-derived side population (BM-SP) cells that demonstrate phenotypes of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). We further asses the hypercholesterolemia sensitivity of Kir channels in BM-SP cells, which may play a key role in hypercholesterolemia-mediated regulation of EPCs.
To assess the effect of hypercholesterolemia on Kir channels in BM-SP, Kir currents were recorded in SP cells sorted from the bone marrow of healthy or hypercholesterolemic animals.
We found Kir channels constitute the major conductance in porcine bone marrow-derived side population (BM-SP) cells. These cells are defined by their efficiency of Hoechst dye efflux and have been reported to differentiate into multiple cell lineages including endothelium in vivo. We demonstrate here that porcine BM-SP cells differentiate to an endothelial lineage (CD31+, vWF+) supporting the hypothesis that these cells are endothelial progenitor cells. Also, BM-SP cells express Kir with biophysical properties recapitulating those in mature endothelial cells, but with a much higher current density. Flow cytometric (FACS) analysis indicated that the number of SP cells was unaffected by hypercholesterolemia. However, hypercholesterolemia significantly inhibited Kir channels in BM-SP cells.
We successfully demonstrate that BM side population cells represent an origin of endothelial progenitor cells. This study further shows, for the fist time, that the functional expression of Kir channels in bone marrow (BM) -derived SP. Moreover, we demonstrate that hypercholesterolemia condition significantly suppresses the Kir channels in BM-SP cells, suggesting that hypercholesterolemia-mediated regulation of Kir channels may be an important factor not only in dysfunction of mature endothelium but also in dysfunction of BM-SP cells.
progenitor cells; endothelium; potassium channels; cholesterol; lipoproteins; flow; vasodilatation
High-resolution MRI methods have been used to evaluate carotid artery atherosclerotic plaque content. The purpose of this study was to assess the performance of high-resolution MRI in evaluation of the quantity and pattern of mineral deposition in carotid endarterectomy (CEA) specimens, with quantitative micro-CT as the gold standard.
Methods and Results
High-resolution MRI and CT were compared in 20 CEA specimens. Linear regression comparing mineral volumes generated from CT (VCT) and MRI (VMRI) data demonstrated good correlation using simple thresholding (VMRI=-0.01+0.98VCT; R2=0.90; threshold=4×noise) and k-means clustering methods (VMRI=-0.005+1.38VCT; R2=0.93). Bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC [mineral mass]) were calculated for CT data and BMC verified with ash weight. Patterns of mineralization like particles, granules, and sheets were more clearly depicted on CT.
Mineral volumes generated from MRI or CT data were highly correlated. CT provided a more detailed depiction of mineralization patterns and provided BMD and BMC in addition to mineral volume. The extent of mineralization as well as the morphology may ultimately be useful in assessing plaque stability.
magnetic resonance imaging; computed tomography; carotid arteries; calcium
Red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet measures, including their count, sub-type and volume, are important diagnostic and prognostic clinical parameters for several human diseases. To identify novel loci associated with hematological traits, and compare the architecture of these phenotypes between ethnic groups, the CARe Project genotyped 49,094 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that capture variation in ~2,100 candidate genes in DNA of 23,439 Caucasians and 7,112 African Americans from five population-based cohorts. We found strong novel associations between erythrocyte phenotypes and the glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) A-allele in African Americans (rs1050828, P < 2.0 × 10−13, T-allele associated with lower red blood cell count, hemoglobin, and hematocrit, and higher mean corpuscular volume), and between platelet count and a SNP at the tropomyosin-4 (TPM4) locus (rs8109288, P = 3.0 × 10−7 in Caucasians; P = 3.0 × 10−7 in African Americans, T-allele associated with lower platelet count). We strongly replicated many genetic associations to blood cell phenotypes previously established in Caucasians. A common variant of the α-globin (HBA2-HBA1) locus was associated with red blood cell traits in African Americans, but not in Caucasians (rs1211375, P < 7 × 10−8, A-allele associated with lower hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular volume). Our results show similarities but also differences in the genetic regulation of hematological traits in European- and African-derived populations, and highlight the role of natural selection in shaping these differences.
Several genetic variants associated with platelet count and mean platelet volume
(MPV) were recently reported in people of European ancestry. In this
meta-analysis of 7 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) enrolling African
Americans, our aim was to identify novel genetic variants associated with
platelet count and MPV. For all cohorts, GWAS analysis was performed using
additive models after adjusting for age, sex, and population stratification. For
both platelet phenotypes, meta-analyses were conducted using inverse-variance
weighted fixed-effect models. Platelet aggregation assays in whole blood were
performed in the participants of the GeneSTAR cohort. Genetic variants in ten
independent regions were associated with platelet count
(N = 16,388) with p<5×10−8 of
which 5 have not been associated with platelet count in previous GWAS. The novel
genetic variants associated with platelet count were in the following regions
(the most significant SNP, closest gene, and p-value): 6p22 (rs12526480,
LRRC16A, p = 9.1×10−9), 7q11
(rs13236689, CD36, p = 2.8×10−9),
10q21 (rs7896518, JMJD1C,
p = 2.3×10−12), 11q13 (rs477895,
BAD, p = 4.9×10−8), and 20q13
(rs151361, SLMO2, p = 9.4×10−9).
Three of these loci (10q21, 11q13, and 20q13) were replicated in European
Americans (N = 14,909) and one (11q13) in Hispanic
Americans (N = 3,462). For MPV
(N = 4,531), genetic variants in 3 regions were significant
at p<5×10−8, two of which were also associated with
platelet count. Previously reported regions that were also significant in this
study were 6p21, 6q23, 7q22, 12q24, and 19p13 for platelet count and 7q22,
17q11, and 19p13 for MPV. The most significant SNP in 1 region was also
associated with ADP-induced maximal platelet aggregation in whole blood (12q24).
Thus through a meta-analysis of GWAS enrolling African Americans, we have
identified 5 novel regions associated with platelet count of which 3 were
replicated in other ethnic groups. In addition, we also found one region
associated with platelet aggregation that may play a potential role in
The majority of the variation in platelet count and mean platelet volume between
individuals is heritable. We performed genome-wide association studies in more
than 16,000 African American participants from seven population-based cohorts to
identify genetic variants that correlate with variation in platelet count and
mean platelet volume. We observed statistically significant evidence
(p-value<5×10−8) that 10 genomic regions were
associated with platelet count and 3 were associated with mean platelet volume.
Of the regions that were significantly associated, we found 5 novel regions that
were not reported previously in other populations. Three of these 5 regions were
also associated with platelet count in European Americans and Hispanic
Americans. All these regions contain genes that are either known to have or
potentially may have a role in determining platelet count and/or mean platelet
volume. We further found that one of these regions was also associated with
agonist-induced platelet aggregation. Further studies will determine the exact
role played by these genomic regions in platelet biology. The knowledge
generated by this and other studies will not only help us better understand
platelet biology but can also lead us to the discovery of new anti-platelet
Total white blood cell (WBC) and neutrophil counts are lower among individuals of African descent due to the common African-derived “null” variant of the Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) gene. Additional common genetic polymorphisms were recently associated with total WBC and WBC sub-type levels in European and Japanese populations. No additional loci that account for WBC variability have been identified in African Americans. In order to address this, we performed a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) of total WBC and cell subtype counts in 16,388 African-American participants from 7 population-based cohorts available in the Continental Origins and Genetic Epidemiology Network. In addition to the DARC locus on chromosome 1q23, we identified two other regions (chromosomes 4q13 and 16q22) associated with WBC in African Americans (P<2.5×10−8). The lead SNP (rs9131) on chromosome 4q13 is located in the CXCL2 gene, which encodes a chemotactic cytokine for polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Independent evidence of the novel CXCL2 association with WBC was present in 3,551 Hispanic Americans, 14,767 Japanese, and 19,509 European Americans. The index SNP (rs12149261) on chromosome 16q22 associated with WBC count is located in a large inter-chromosomal segmental duplication encompassing part of the hydrocephalus inducing homolog (HYDIN) gene. We demonstrate that the chromosome 16q22 association finding is most likely due to a genotyping artifact as a consequence of sequence similarity between duplicated regions on chromosomes 16q22 and 1q21. Among the WBC loci recently identified in European or Japanese populations, replication was observed in our African-American meta-analysis for rs445 of CDK6 on chromosome 7q21 and rs4065321 of PSMD3-CSF3 region on chromosome 17q21. In summary, the CXCL2, CDK6, and PSMD3-CSF3 regions are associated with WBC count in African American and other populations. We also demonstrate that large inter-chromosomal duplications can result in false positive associations in GWAS.
Although recent genome-wide association studies have identified common genetic variants associated with total white blood cell (WBC) and WBC sub-type counts in European and Japanese ancestry populations, whether these or other loci account for differences in WBC count among African Americans is unknown. By examining >16,000 African Americans, we show that, in addition to the previously identified Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) locus on chromosome 1, another variant, rs9131, and other nearby variants on human chromosome 4 are associated with total WBC count in African Americans. The variants span the CXCL2 gene, which encodes an inflammatory mediator involved in WBC production and migration. We show that the association is not restricted to African Americans but is also present in independent samples of European Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Japanese. This finding is potentially important because WBC mediate or have altered counts in a variety of acute and chronic disorders.
The epidemiology of atrial fibrillation (AF) has been mainly investigated in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), with limited data on less advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) stages.
A total of 3267 adult participants (50% non-Hispanic blacks, 46% females) with CKD from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) were included in this study. None of the study participants had been on dialysis. Those with self-identified race/ethnicity other than non-Hispanic black or white (N=323) or those without ECG data (N=22) were excluded. AF was ascertained by a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) and self-report. Age- sex- race/ethnicity-specific prevalence rates of AF were estimated and compared between subgroups. Cross sectional associations and correlates with prevalent AF were examined using unadjusted and multivariable adjusted logistic regression analysis.
The mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was 43.6 (±13.0) ml/min/1.73 m2. AF was present in 18% of the study population and in more than 25% of those 70 years or older. In multivariable adjusted models, 1-SD increase in age (11 years) [odds ratio (OR) and CI 95%: 1.27 (1.13, 1.43), P<0.0001], female sex [0.80 (0.65, 0.98), P=0.0303], smoking (former vs. never) [1.34 (1.08, 1.66), P= 0.0081], history of heart failure [3.28 (2.47, 4.36), P<0.001], and history of cardiovascular disease [1.94 (1.56, 2.43), P<0.0001] were significantly associated with AF. Race/ethnicity, hypertension, diabetes, body mass index, physical activity, education, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, total cholesterol, and alcohol intake were not significantly associated with AF. An estimated GFR <45 ml/min/1.73 m2 was associated with AF in an unadjusted model [1.35 (1.13–1.62)); P=0.0010)], but not after multivariable adjustment [1.12 (0.92– 1.35), P=0.2710].
Nearly one in five participants in CRIC, a national study of CKD, had evidence for AF at study entry, a prevalence similar to that reported among patients with ESRD and 2–3 times of that reported in the general population. Risk factors for AF in this CKD population do not mirror those reported in the general population.
Type-2 diabetes mellitus increases risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanisms linking hyperglycemia and atherosclerosis remain poorly understood. One proposed mechanism involves endothelial dysfunction via activation of protein kinase C beta (PKC beta). Prior studies demonstrate beneficial effects of PKC beta inhibition on microvascular parameters, but, to date, no study has examined the effect on macrovascular atherosclerotic readouts.
The goal of this double-masked, placebo-controlled trial in type-2 diabetes was to assess the effect of the PKC beta-specific inhibitor, ruboxistaurin (32 mg/day for 6 weeks) on ultrasound assessed brachial artery flow mediated dilatation (FMD), a surrogate of macro vascular endothelial function, and urinary isoprostanes, indices of oxidant stress.
Compared to placebo, ruboxistaurin tended to improve FMD (difference in 6-week change in FMD, mean±SD millimeter) at one (0.13±0.26 mm, p=0.08) and 5 min (0.12±0.21 mm, p=0.02) after cuff deflation, but had no effect on nitroglycerin-mediated dilatation or urinary isoprostanes.
This proof of concept trial is the first to suggest that specific inhibition of PKC beta may improve macro vascular endothelial function in type-2 diabetes. Larger trials including clinical endpoints are warranted to determine the potential efficacy of PKC beta inhibition in reducing atherosclerotic cardiovascular complications in diabetes mellitus.
Type 2 diabetes; Protein kinase C beta; Endothelial function; Oxidant stress; Macro vascular disease