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1.  Plasma sphingomyelin and longitudinal change in emphysema on computed tomography. The MESA Lung study 
Ceramide causes endothelial apoptosis and emphysema-like changes in animal models.
Test if plasma sphingomyelin, a major precursor of ceramide, would predict longitudinal increase in the percentage of emphysema-like lung on computed tomography (CT).
Materials and methods
3,840 participants had their plasma sphingomyelin measured at baseline examination and their pulmonary emphysema measured on cardiac CT scans at baseline and on follow-up visits. Mixed effects models were used to adjust for potential confounders.
one standard deviation increase in sphingomyelin predicted a 0.12 % per year (95% CI: 0.02 to 0.22; p = 0.019) greater increase of percent emphysema.
Discussion and conclusion
Higher plasma levels of sphingomyelin predicted greater annual increase in quantitatively measured percent emphysema.
PMCID: PMC4088962  PMID: 24649875
Sphingomyelin; Ceramide; Emphysema; Computed Tomography
2.  Ethnicity and Sex Modify the Association of Serum C-Reactive Protein with Microalbuminuria 
Ethnicity & disease  2008;18(3):324-329.
To study the association between serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and urinary albumin excretion in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and to assess whether the association is modified by ethnicity, sex, or systolic blood pressure.
This was a cross-sectional study of 6675 participants who were free from macro albuminuria and clinical cardiovascular disease (mean age 62.1 years, 53% female; 39% White, 27% African American, 22% Hispanic, and 12% Chinese). Urinary albumin excretion was measured by spot urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR). Effect modifications were tested after adjusting for age, diabetes, body mass index, smoking, use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin-receptor blocker, other antihypertensive drugs, estrogens, statins, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The association between CRP and ACR was modified by ethnicity (P=.01) and sex (P<.001), but not by systolic blood pressure. After multivariate adjustment, the association remained in Chinese, African American, and Hispanic men and African American women (P<.02 for African American men, and P<.04 for the other subgroups).
The association between CRP and ACR was modified by ethnicity and sex; it was stronger in non-White men and African American women. These interactions have not been reported before, and future studies should consider them.
PMCID: PMC4089959  PMID: 18785447
Albuminuria; C-Reactive Protein; Ethnicity; Gender
3.  Genetic Ancestry and the Relationship of Cigarette Smoking to Lung Function and Percent Emphysema in Four Race/Ethnic Groups: a Cross-sectional Study 
Thorax  2013;68(7):634-642.
Cigarette smoking is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. Recent studies suggest that susceptibility to cigarette smoke may vary by race/ethnicity; however, they were generally small and relied on self-reported race/ethnicity.
To test the hypothesis that relationships of smoking to lung function and percent emphysema differ by genetic ancestry and self-reported race/ethnicity among Whites, African-Americans, Hispanics and Chinese-Americans.
Cross-sectional population-based study of adults age 45-84 years in the United States
Principal components of genetic ancestry and continental ancestry estimated from one-million genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms. Pack-years calculated as years smoking cigarettes-per-day/20. Spirometry measured for 3,344 and percent emphysema on computed tomography for 8,224 participants.
The prevalence of ever-smoking was: Whites, 57.6%; African-Americans, 56.4%; Hispanics, 46.7%; and Chinese-Americans, 26.8%. Every 10 pack-years was associated with −0.73% (95% CI −0.90%, −0.56%) decrement in the forced expiratory volume in one second to forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) and a 0.23% (95% CI 0.08%, 0.38%) increase in percent emphysema. There was no evidence that relationships of pack-years to the FEV1/FVC, airflow obstruction and percent emphysema varied by genetic ancestry (all p>0.10), self-reported race/ethnicity (all p>0.10) or, among African-Americans, African ancestry. There were small differences in relationships of pack-years to the FEV1 among male Chinese-Americans and to the FEV1/FVC with African and Native American ancestry among male Hispanics only.
In this large cohort, there was little-to-no evidence that the associations of smoking to lung function and percent emphysema differed by genetic ancestry or self-reported race/ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC4020409  PMID: 23585509
cigarette smoke; genetic ancestry; lung function; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; COPD; emphysema; FVC; Forced Vital Capacity; FEV1; Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second
4.  APOM and High-Density Lipoprotein are associated with Lung Function and Percent Emphysema 
The European respiratory journal  2013;43(4):1003-1017.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is linked to cardiovascular disease; however, there are few studies on the associations of cardiovascular genes with COPD.
We assessed the association of lung function with 2,100 genes selected for cardiovascular diseases among 20,077 European-Americans and 6,900 African-Americans. We performed replication of significant loci in the other racial group and an independent consortium of Europeans, tested the associations of significant loci with percent emphysema, and examined gene expression in an independent sample. We then tested the association of a related lipid biomarker with FEV1/FVC and percent emphysema.
We identified one new polymorphism for FEV1/FVC (rs805301) in European-Americans (p=1.3×10−6) and a second (rs707974) in the combined European-American and African-American analysis (p=1.38×10−7). Both SNPs flank the gene for apolipoprotein M (apoM), a component of HDL. Both replicated in an independent cohort. SNPs in a second gene related to apoM and HDL, PCSK9, were associated with FEV1/FVC among African-Americans. rs707974 was associated with percent emphysema among European-Americans and African-Americans, and APOM expression was related to FEV1/FVC and percent emphysema. Higher HDL levels were associated with lower FEV1/FVC and greater percent emphysema.
These findings suggest a novel role for the APOM/HDL pathway in the pathogenesis of COPD and emphysema.
PMCID: PMC4041087  PMID: 23900982
Apolipoproteins; Cholesterol; Percent Emphysema; Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide; Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive
5.  Pulmonary Hyperinflation and Left Ventricular Mass 
Circulation  2013;127(14):1503-1511e6.
Left ventricular (LV) mass is an important predictor of heart failure and cardiovascular mortality, yet determinants of LV mass are incompletely understood. Pulmonary hyperinflation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may contribute to changes in intrathoracic pressure that increase LV wall stress. We therefore hypothesized that residual lung volume in COPD would be associated with greater LV mass.
Methods and results
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) COPD Study recruited smokers aged 50–79 years who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease. LV mass was measured by cardiac magnetic resonance. Pulmonary function testing was performed according to guidelines. Regression models were used to adjust for age, sex, body size, blood pressure and other cardiac risk factors.
Among 119 MESA COPD Study participants, mean age was 69±6 years, 55% were male and 65% had COPD, mostly of mild or moderate severity. Mean LV mass was 128±34 grams. Residual lung volume was independently associated with greater LV mass (7.2 grams per standard deviation increase in residual volume; 95% CI 2.2 to 12; P=0.004), and was similar in magnitude to that of systolic blood pressure (7.6 grams per standard deviation increase in systolic blood pressure, 95% CI 4.3 to 11 grams; p<0.001). Similar results were observed for LV mass to end-diastolic volume ratio (p=0.02) and with hyperinflation measured as residual volume to total lung capacity ratio (P=0.009).
Pulmonary hyperinflation, as measured by residual lung volume or residual lung volume to total lung capacity ratio, is associated with greater LV mass.
PMCID: PMC4018203  PMID: 23493320
Left ventricular mass; hyperinflation; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
6.  Adaptive Quantification and Longitudinal Analysis of Pulmonary Emphysema with a Hidden Markov Measure Field Model 
IEEE transactions on medical imaging  2014;33(7):1527-1540.
The extent of pulmonary emphysema is commonly estimated from CT images by computing the proportional area of voxels below a predefined attenuation threshold. However, the reliability of this approach is limited by several factors that affect the CT intensity distributions in the lung.
This work presents a novel method for emphysema quantification, based on parametric modeling of intensity distributions in the lung and a hidden Markov measure field model to segment emphysematous regions. The framework adapts to the characteristics of an image to ensure a robust quantification of emphysema under varying CT imaging protocols and differences in parenchymal intensity distributions due to factors such as inspiration level. Compared to standard approaches, the present model involves a larger number of parameters, most of which can be estimated from data, to handle the variability encountered in lung CT scans.
The method was used to quantify emphysema on a cohort of 87 subjects, with repeated CT scans acquired over a time period of 8 years using different imaging protocols. The scans were acquired approximately annually, and the data set included a total of 365 scans. The results show that the emphysema estimates produced by the proposed method have very high intra-subject correlation values. By reducing sensitivity to changes in imaging protocol, the method provides a more robust estimate than standard approaches. In addition, the generated emphysema delineations promise great advantages for regional analysis of emphysema extent and progression, possibly advancing disease subtyping.
PMCID: PMC4104988  PMID: 24759984
Computed tomography; lung; image segmentation; Markov random fields; emphysema index
7.  Large-Scale Genome-Wide Association Studies and Meta-Analyses of Longitudinal Change in Adult Lung Function 
Tang, Wenbo | Kowgier, Matthew | Loth, Daan W. | Soler Artigas, María | Joubert, Bonnie R. | Hodge, Emily | Gharib, Sina A. | Smith, Albert V. | Ruczinski, Ingo | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Mathias, Rasika A. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hansel, Nadia N. | Launer, Lenore J. | Barnes, Kathleen C. | Hansen, Joyanna G. | Albrecht, Eva | Aldrich, Melinda C. | Allerhand, Michael | Barr, R. Graham | Brusselle, Guy G. | Couper, David J. | Curjuric, Ivan | Davies, Gail | Deary, Ian J. | Dupuis, Josée | Fall, Tove | Foy, Millennia | Franceschini, Nora | Gao, Wei | Gläser, Sven | Gu, Xiangjun | Hancock, Dana B. | Heinrich, Joachim | Hofman, Albert | Imboden, Medea | Ingelsson, Erik | James, Alan | Karrasch, Stefan | Koch, Beate | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Kumar, Ashish | Lahousse, Lies | Li, Guo | Lind, Lars | Lindgren, Cecilia | Liu, Yongmei | Lohman, Kurt | Lumley, Thomas | McArdle, Wendy L. | Meibohm, Bernd | Morris, Andrew P. | Morrison, Alanna C. | Musk, Bill | North, Kari E. | Palmer, Lyle J. | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I. | Schulz, Holger | Smith, Lewis J. | Sood, Akshay | Starr, John M. | Strachan, David P. | Teumer, Alexander | Uitterlinden, André G. | Völzke, Henry | Voorman, Arend | Wain, Louise V. | Wells, Martin T. | Wilk, Jemma B. | Williams, O. Dale | Heckbert, Susan R. | Stricker, Bruno H. | London, Stephanie J. | Fornage, Myriam | Tobin, Martin D. | O′Connor, George T. | Hall, Ian P. | Cassano, Patricia A.
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100776.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci influencing cross-sectional lung function, but less is known about genes influencing longitudinal change in lung function.
We performed GWAS of the rate of change in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in 14 longitudinal, population-based cohort studies comprising 27,249 adults of European ancestry using linear mixed effects model and combined cohort-specific results using fixed effect meta-analysis to identify novel genetic loci associated with longitudinal change in lung function. Gene expression analyses were subsequently performed for identified genetic loci. As a secondary aim, we estimated the mean rate of decline in FEV1 by smoking pattern, irrespective of genotypes, across these 14 studies using meta-analysis.
The overall meta-analysis produced suggestive evidence for association at the novel IL16/STARD5/TMC3 locus on chromosome 15 (P  =  5.71 × 10-7). In addition, meta-analysis using the five cohorts with ≥3 FEV1 measurements per participant identified the novel ME3 locus on chromosome 11 (P  =  2.18 × 10-8) at genome-wide significance. Neither locus was associated with FEV1 decline in two additional cohort studies. We confirmed gene expression of IL16, STARD5, and ME3 in multiple lung tissues. Publicly available microarray data confirmed differential expression of all three genes in lung samples from COPD patients compared with controls. Irrespective of genotypes, the combined estimate for FEV1 decline was 26.9, 29.2 and 35.7 mL/year in never, former, and persistent smokers, respectively.
In this large-scale GWAS, we identified two novel genetic loci in association with the rate of change in FEV1 that harbor candidate genes with biologically plausible functional links to lung function.
PMCID: PMC4077649  PMID: 24983941
8.  Asthma and lung structure on CT: The MESA Lung Study 
The potential consequences of asthma in childhood and young adulthood on lung structure in older adults have not been studied in a large, population-based cohort.
The authors hypothesized that a history of asthma onset in childhood (age 18 or before) or young adulthood (age 19 to 45) was associated with altered lung structure on computed tomography (CT) in later life.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Lung Study recruited 3,965 participants and assessed asthma history using standardized questionnaires, spirometry following guidelines, and segmental airway dimensions and percent low attenuation areas on CT scans.
Asthma with onset in childhood and young adulthood was associated with large decrements in the forced expiratory volume in one second among participants with a mean age of 66 years (−365 ml and −343 ml, respectively; P<0.001). Asthma with onset in childhood and young adulthood was associated with increased mean airway wall thickness standardized to an internal perimeter of 10 mm (Pi10) (0.1 mm, P<0.001 for both), predominantly from narrower segmental airway lumens (−0.39 mm and −0.34 mm, respectively; P<0.001). Asthma with onset in childhood and young adulthood also was associated with a greater percentage of low attenuation areas (1.69% and 4.30%, respectively; P<0.001). Findings were similar among never smokers except that differential percentage of low attenuation areas in child-onset asthma was not seen in them.
Asthma with onset in childhood or young adulthood, was associated with reduced lung function, narrower airways and, among asthmatics who smoked, greater percentage of low attenuation areas in later life.
PMCID: PMC3564253  PMID: 23374265
airway remodeling; airway structure; asthma; emphysema; epidemiology
9.  Pentraxin-3 and the right ventricle: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis–Right Ventricle Study 
Pulmonary Circulation  2014;4(2):250-259.
Pentraxin-3 (PTX3) is a protein mediator of innate immunity that is elevated in the setting of left heart disease and pulmonary arterial hypertension. The relationship between PTX3 and right ventricular (RV) structure and function is not known. We included men and women with magnetic resonance imaging assessment of RV structure and function and measurement of PTX3 from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a study of individuals free of clinical cardiovascular disease. Multivariable linear regression estimated associations between PTX3 protein levels and RV measures after adjusting for demographic characteristics, anthropometrics, smoking status, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and corresponding left ventricular (LV) parameters. Instrumental variable analysis exploiting Mendelian randomization was attempted using two-stage least squares regression. The study sample included 1,779 participants with available PTX3 levels, RV measures, and all covariables. Mean PTX3 level was 2.1 ng/mL. Higher PTX3 was independently associated with greater RV mass and larger RV end-diastolic volume with and without adjustment for the corresponding LV parameters or C-reactive protein (all P < .05). There was no association between PTX3 and RV ejection fraction or stroke volume. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms were not associated with PTX3 protein levels or RV measures after accounting for race. Instrumental variable analysis could not be reliably performed. Higher PTX3 protein levels were associated with greater RV mass and larger RV end-diastolic volume. These associations were independent of common cardiovascular risk factors and LV morphologic changes. Inflammation is associated with differences in the pulmonary circulation-RV axis in adults without clinical cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC4070771  PMID: 25006444
pulmonary hypertension; heart failure; inflammation; right ventricle; Mendelian randomization
10.  Cigarette smoking and airway wall thickness on CT scan in a multi-ethnic cohort: The MESA Lung Study 
Respiratory medicine  2012;106(12):1655-1664.
Autopsy studies show that smoking contributes to airway wall hyperplasia and narrowing of the airway lumen. Studies of smoking and airway measures on computed tomography (CT) scan are limited to case-control studies of measures that combine airway lumen and wall thickness.
We hypothesized that cumulative cigarette smoking would be associated with increased airway wall thickness in a large, population-based cohort.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis enrolled participants age 45-84 years from the general population. Smoking history was assessed via standardized questionnaire items; current smoking was confirmed in half the cohort with cotinine. Airway lumen and wall thickness were measured in two dimensions in posterior basal segmental bronchi on cardiac-gated CT scans. Analyses were adjusted for age, gender, genetic ancestry, education, height, weight, asthma history, particulate matter, scanner type, and scanner current.
Half of the 7,898 participants had smoked and 14% were current smokers. Pack-years of smoking were associated with thicker airway walls (mean increase 0.002 mm per ten pack-years [95% CI: 0.00002, 0.004] p=0.03). Current smoking was associated with narrower airway lumens (mean decrease −0.11 mm [95% CI: −0.2, −0.02] p=0.02). There was no evidence that either association was modified by genetic ancestry, and findings persisted among participants without clinical disease.
Long-term cigarette smoking was associated with subclinical increases in wall thickness of sub-segmental airways whereas current smoking was associated with narrower airway lumen diameters. Smoking may contribute to airway wall thickening prior to the development of overt chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
PMCID: PMC3549633  PMID: 22974831
smoking; airway remodeling; Pi10; wall thickness; lumen; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
11.  Obesity Is Associated With a Lower Resting Oxygen Saturation in the Ambulatory Elderly: Results From the Cardiovascular Health Study 
Respiratory care  2013;58(5):10.4187/respcare.02008.
The contribution of obesity to hypoxemia has not been reported in a community-based study. Our hypothesis was that increasing obesity would be independently associated with lower SpO2 in an ambulatory elderly population.
The Cardiovascular Health Study ascertained resting SpO2 in 2,252 subjects over age 64. We used multiple linear regression to estimate the association of body mass index (BMI) with SpO2 and to adjust for potentially confounding factors. Covariates including age, sex, race, smoking, airway obstruction (based on spirometry), self reported diagnosis of emphysema, asthma, heart failure, and left ventricular function (by echocardiography) were evaluated.
Among 2,252 subjects the mean and median SpO2 were 97.6% and 98.0% respectively; 5% of subjects had SpO2 values below 95%. BMI was negatively correlated with SpO2 (Spearman R = −0.27, P < .001). The mean difference in SpO2 between the lowest and highest BMI categories (< 25 kg/m2 and ≥ 35 kg/m2) was 1.33% (95% CI 0.89–1.78%). In multivariable linear regression analysis, SpO2 was significantly inversely associated with BMI (1.4% per 10 units of BMI, 95% CI 1.2–1.6, for whites/others, and 0.87% per 10 units of BMI, 95% CI 0.47–1.27, for African Americans).
We found a narrow distribution of SpO2 values in a community-based sample of ambulatory elderly. Obesity was a strong independent contributor to a low SpO2, with effects comparable to or greater than other factors clinically associated with lower SpO2.
PMCID: PMC3885157  PMID: 23107018
pulse oximetry; oxygen; obesity; body mass index; waist circumference; hypoxemia; pulmonary function test
12.  Emphysema Predicts Hospitalisation and Incident Airflow Obstruction among Older Smokers: A Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93221.
Emphysema on CT is common in older smokers. We hypothesised that emphysema on CT predicts acute episodes of care for chronic lower respiratory disease among older smokers.
Materials and Methods
Participants in a lung cancer screening study age ≥60 years were recruited into a prospective cohort study in 2001–02. Two radiologists independently visually assessed the severity of emphysema as absent, mild, moderate or severe. Percent emphysema was defined as the proportion of voxels ≤ −910 Hounsfield Units. Participants completed a median of 5 visits over a median of 6 years of follow-up. The primary outcome was hospitalization, emergency room or urgent office visit for chronic lower respiratory disease. Spirometry was performed following ATS/ERS guidelines. Airflow obstruction was defined as FEV1/FVC ratio <0.70 and FEV1<80% predicted.
Of 521 participants, 4% had moderate or severe emphysema, which was associated with acute episodes of care (rate ratio 1.89; 95% CI: 1.01–3.52) adjusting for age, sex and race/ethnicity, as was percent emphysema, with similar associations for hospitalisation. Emphysema on visual assessment also predicted incident airflow obstruction (HR 5.14; 95% CI 2.19–21.1).
Visually assessed emphysema and percent emphysema on CT predicted acute episodes of care for chronic lower respiratory disease, with the former predicting incident airflow obstruction among older smokers.
PMCID: PMC3974731  PMID: 24699215
13.  Quantitative and Semi-quantitative Measures of Regional Pulmonary Parenchymal Perfusion by Magnetic Resonance Imaging and their Relationships to Global Lung Perfusion and Lung Diffusing Capacity – The MESA COPD Study 
Investigative radiology  2013;48(4):223-230.
To evaluate quantitative and semi-quantitative measures of regional pulmonary parenchymal perfusion in patients with COPD in relationship to global lung perfusion (GLP) and lung diffusing capacity (DLCO).
Materials and Methods
One hundred and forty three participants in the MESA COPD Study were examined by dynamic contrast-enhanced pulmonary perfusion MRI at 1.5 T. Pulmonary blood flow (PBF) was calculated on a pixel-by-pixel basis by using a dual-bolus technique and the Fermi function model. Semi-quantitative parameters for regional lung perfusion were calculated from signal-intensity time curves in the lung parenchyma. Intra- and inter-observer coefficients of variation (CV) and correlations between quantitative and semi-quantitative MRI parameters and with GLP and DLCO were determined.
Quantitative and semi-quantitative parameters of pulmonary parenchymal perfusion were reproducible with CVs for all <10%. Furthermore, these MRI parameters were correlated with GLP and DLCO and there was good agreement between PBF and GLP. Quantitative and semi-quantitative MRI parameters were closely correlated (e.g., r=0.86 for maximum signal increase with PBF). In participants without COPD, the physiological distribution of pulmonary perfusion could be determined by regional MRI measurements.
Regional pulmonary parenchymal perfusion can reliably be quantified from dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI. MRI-derived quantitative and semi-quantitative perfusion measures correlate with GLP and DLCO.
PMCID: PMC3952075  PMID: 23385398
Pulmonary perfusion; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI; quantitative perfusion maps; diffusing lung capacity
14.  Does the relationship between asthma and obesity differ by neighborhood? 
Respiratory medicine  2008;102(12):1797-1804.
PMCID: PMC3695444  PMID: 18707858
epidemiology; survey; urban health
15.  Associations among Lung Function, Arterial Elasticity and Circulating Endothelial and Inflammation Markers: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Hypertension  2013;61(2):542-548.
A parallel physiologic pathway for elastic changes is hypothesized for declines in arterial elasticity and lung function. Endothelial dysfunction and inflammation could potentially decrease elasticity of both vasculature and lung tissue. We examined biomarkers, large (LAE) and small (SAE) arterial elasticity, and forced vital capacity (FVC) in a period cross-sectional design in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, which recruited 1,823 women and 1,803 men, age range 45–84 years, black, white, Hispanic, and Chinese, free of clinically recognized CVD. Radial artery tonometric pulse waveform registration was performed and LAE and SAE were derived from diastole. Spirometric data and markers of endothelial dysfunction and inflammation (soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1, fibrinogen, hs-C-reactive protein, and interleukin-6) were obtained. Mean LAE was 13.7 ± 5.5 ml/mmHgx10 and SAE was 4.6 ± 2.6 ml/mmHgx100. Mean FVC was 3,192 ± 956.0 mL and FEV1 was 2,386 ± 734.5 mL. FVC was about 40 ± 5 mL higher per SD of SAE, stronger in men than women. The association was slightly weaker with LAE, with no sex interaction. After regression adjustment for demographic, anthropometric, and cardiovascular risk factors, the biomarkers tended to be related to reduced SAE and FVC, particularly in men. These biomarker associations suggest important CVD risk alterations that occur concurrently with lower arterial elasticity and lung function. The observed positive association of SAE with FVC and with FEV1 in middle-aged to older free-living people is consistent with the hypothesis of parallel physiologic pathways for elastic changes in the vasculature and in lung parenchymal tissue.
PMCID: PMC3586233  PMID: 23283358
arterial stiffness; endothelial markers; inflammatory markers; large and small artery elasticity; lung function; MESA Study
16.  Pulmonary Function is Associated with Distal Aortic Calcium, not Proximal Aortic Distensibility. MESA Lung Study 
COPD  2011;8(2):71-78.
Forced expiratory volume in one second strongly predicts mortality from cardiovascular disease. FEV1 has been associated with aortic stiffness a strong independent predictor of cardiovascular mortality. However, the anatomical site and possible mechanisms linking aortic stiffness and lung function are unknown. We therefore examined if FEV1 and CT percent emphysema were associated with calcification of the abdominal aorta or reduced distensibility of the proximal thoracic aorta.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) measured aortic calcification on cardiac and abdominal CT scans and proximal aortic distensibility using magnetic resonance among participants aged 45–84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease. Spirometry was measured following ATS/ERS guidelines and percent emphysema was measured in the lung fields of cardiac CT scans. Multivariate analyses adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity and cardiovascular risk factors.
Of 1,917 participants with aortic distensibility measures, 13% were current and 38% were former smokers. Eighteen percent had airflow limitation without asthma. FEV1 was associated with the extent of distal aortic calcification (0.76; 95%CI 0.60–0.97, p=0.02) but not proximal aortic calcification or proximal aortic distensibility (−0.04 mmHg−1; 95%CI −0.16–0.09 mmHg−1, p=0.60). Percent emphysema was associated with neither measure.
FEV1 was associated with severity of distal aortic calcification where it was present independently of smoking and other cardiovascular risk factors but not with distensibility or calcification of the proximal aorta.
PMCID: PMC3629728  PMID: 21495835
forced expiratory volume; pulmonary emphysema; aorta; calcification; compliance
17.  Performance of Maximal Inspiratory Pressure Tests and MIP Reference Equations for Four Ethnic Groups 
Respiratory care  2009;54(10):1321-1328.
Maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP) is an important and non-invasive index of diaphragm strength and an independent predictor of all-cause mortality. The ability of adults over a wide age range and multiple ethnicities to perform MIP tests has previously not been evaluated.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) recruited white, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese-American participants ages 45–84 years and free of clinical cardiovascular disease in six US cities. MIP was measured using standard techniques among 3849 MESA participants. The MIP quality goal was 5 maneuvers, with the two largest values matching within 10 cmH2O. Correlates of MIP quality and values were assessed in logistic and linear regression models.
The 3849 MESA-Lung participants with MIP measures were 51% female, 35% white, 26% African-American, 23% Hispanic, and 16% Chinese-American. Mean MIP±SD was 73±26 cmH2O for women and 97±29 cmH2O for men. The quality goal was achieved by 83% of the cohort and was associated with female gender, older age, race/ethnicity, study site, low FEV1/FVC ratio, and wheeze with dyspnea. The multivariate correlates of MIP were male gender, younger age, higher BMI, shorter height, higher FVC, higher systolic blood pressure (in women) and health status (in men). There were no clinically important race/ethnic differences in MIP values.
Race-specific reference equations for MIP are unnecessary in the United States. More than 80% of adults can be successfully coached for 5 maneuvers with repeatability within 10 cmH2O.
PMCID: PMC3616895  PMID: 19796411
diaphragm strength; respiratory muscle strength; maximal inspiratory pressure; quality control; pulmonary function testing
18.  Subclinical Atherosclerosis, Airflow Obstruction and Emphysema: the MESA Lung Study 
Airflow obstruction is independent risk factor for cardiovascular events in the general population. The affected vascular bed and contribution of emphysema to cardiovascular risk are unclear. We examined if an obstructive pattern of spirometry and quantitatively defined emphysema were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in the carotid, peripheral and coronary circulations.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis recruited participants age 45–84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease. Spirometry, carotid intima-media thickness, ankle-brachial index and coronary artery calcium were measured using standard protocols. Percent of emphysema-like lung was measured in the lung windows of cardiac computed tomography scans among 3,642 participants. Multiple linear regression was used to adjust for cardiac risk factors including C-reactive protein.
Decrements in the FEV1 and FEV1/FVC were associated with greater internal carotid intima-media thickness among smokers (P=0.03 and P<0.001, respectively) whereas percent emphysema was associated with reduced ankle-brachial index regardless of smoking history (P=0.004). Coronary artery calcium was associated with neither lung function (prevalence ratio for severe airflow obstruction: 0.99; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.07) nor percent emphysema.
An obstructive pattern of spirometry and emphysema are associated distinctly and independently with subclinical atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries and peripheral circulation, respectively, and were not independently related to coronary artery calcium.
PMCID: PMC3616898  PMID: 22034646
19.  Comparison of serum, EDTA plasma and P100 plasma for luminex-based biomarker multiplex assays in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the SPIROMICS study 
As a part of the longitudinal Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) study, Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcome Measures in COPD study (SPIROMICS), blood samples are being collected from 3200 subjects with the goal of identifying blood biomarkers for sub-phenotyping patients and predicting disease progression. To determine the most reliable sample type for measuring specific blood analytes in the cohort, a pilot study was performed from a subset of 24 subjects comparing serum, Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) plasma, and EDTA plasma with proteinase inhibitors (P100™).
105 analytes, chosen for potential relevance to COPD, arranged in 12 multiplex and one simplex platform (Myriad-RBM) were evaluated in duplicate from the three sample types from 24 subjects. The reliability coefficient and the coefficient of variation (CV) were calculated. The performance of each analyte and mean analyte levels were evaluated across sample types.
20% of analytes were not consistently detectable in any sample type. Higher reliability and/or smaller CV were determined for 12 analytes in EDTA plasma compared to serum, and for 11 analytes in serum compared to EDTA plasma. While reliability measures were similar for EDTA plasma and P100 plasma for a majority of analytes, CV was modestly increased in P100 plasma for eight analytes. Each analyte within a multiplex produced independent measurement characteristics, complicating selection of sample type for individual multiplexes.
There were notable detectability and measurability differences between serum and plasma. Multiplexing may not be ideal if large reliability differences exist across analytes measured within the multiplex, especially if values differ based on sample type. For some analytes, the large CV should be considered during experimental design, and the use of duplicate and/or triplicate samples may be necessary. These results should prove useful for studies evaluating selection of samples for evaluation of potential blood biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3928911  PMID: 24397870
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; COPD; SPIROMICS; Biomarkers; Blood analytes; Multiplex assays; P100 plasma; Serum; EDTA plasma; Pilot study
20.  Reproducibility and Validity of a Handheld Spirometer 
Respiratory care  2008;53(4):433-441.
Handheld spirometers have several advantages over desktop spirometers but worries persist regarding their reproducibility and validity. We undertook an independent examination of an ultrasonic flow-sensing handheld spirometer.
Laboratory methods included reproducibility and validity testing using a waveform generator with standard American Thoracic Society (ATS) waveforms, in-line testing, calibration adaptor testing, and compression of the mouthpiece. Clinical testing involved repeated testing of 24 spirometry-naive volunteers and comparison to a volume-sensing dry rolling seal spirometer.
The EasyOne Diagnostic spirometer exceeded standard thresholds of acceptability for ATS waveforms. In-line testing yielded valid results with relative differences (mean ± SD) between the EasyOne and the reference spirometer for the forced vital capacity (FVC) of 0.03±0.23 L and the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) of −0.06±0.09 L. The calibration adaptor showed no appreciable problems, but extreme compression of the mouthpiece reduced measures. In clinical testing, coefficients of variation and limits of agreement were, respectively: 3.3% and 0.24 L for the FVC; 2.6% and 0.18 L for the FEV1; and 1.9% and 0.05 for the FEV1/FVC ratio. The EasyOne yielded lower values than the reference spirometry (FVC: −0.12 L; FEV1: −0.17 L; FEV1/FVC ratio: −0.02). Limits of agreement were within criteria for FVC but not for the FEV1, possibly due to a training effect.
The EasyOne spirometer yielded generally reproducible results that were generally valid compared to laboratory-based spirometry. The use of this handheld spirometer in clinical, occupational and research settings seems justified.
PMCID: PMC3595551  PMID: 18364054
21.  Von Willebrand Factor and the Right Ventricle (The MESA-Right Ventricle Study) 
The American journal of cardiology  2012;110(12):1846-1851.
Elevation in plasma activity of von Willebrand Factor (vWF) reflects endothelial dysfunction and predicts death in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Higher vWF activity is also associated with lower right ventricular (RV) ejection fraction in PAH. Little is known about the relationship between vWF and RV structure and function in adults without cardiovascular disease. In the current investigation, we included 1,976 participants with MRI assessment of RV structure and function and measurement of vWF activity from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Multivariable linear regression was used to estimate the associations between vWF activity and measures of RV structure and function after adjusting for demographics, anthropometrics, smoking, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and the corresponding left ventricular (LV) parameter. The average vWF activity was 140.7 ± 57.2%. Elevated vWF activity was independently associated with lower RV mass, RV end-diastolic volume and RV stroke volume in models with and without adjustment for the corresponding LV parameter (all p < 0.05). There was no association observed between vWF activity and RV ejection fraction. In conclusion, higher vWF activity is associated with lower RV mass, RV end-diastolic volume and RV stroke volume. These associations are independent of common cardiovascular risk factors and LV morphologic changes.
PMCID: PMC3696516  PMID: 22995970
Cardiovascular Imaging; Biomarkers; Pulmonary Hypertension; Right Ventricle
22.  Vascular Responses to Long- and Short-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter 
This study evaluated the association of long- and short-term air pollutant exposures with flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and baseline arterial diameter (BAD) of the brachial artery using ultrasound in a large multicity cohort.
Exposures to ambient air pollution, especially long-term exposure to particulate matter <2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5), are linked with cardiovascular mortality. Short-term exposure to PM2.5 has been associated with decreased FMD and vasoconstriction, suggesting that adverse effects of PM2.5 may involve endothelial dysfunction. However, long-term effects of PM2.5 on endothelial dysfunction have not been investigated.
FMD and BAD were measured by brachial artery ultrasound at the initial examination of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Long-term PM2.5 concentrations were estimated for the year 2000 at each participant’s residence (n = 3,040) using a spatio-temporal model informed by cohort-specific monitoring. Short-term PM2.5 concentrations were based on daily central-site monitoring in each of the 6 cities.
An interquartile increase in long-term PM2.5 concentration (3 μg/m3) was associated with a 0.3% decrease in FMD (95% confidence interval [CI] of difference: −0.6 to −0.03; p = 0.03), adjusting for demographic characteristics, traditional risk factors, sonographers, and 1/BAD. Women, nonsmokers, younger participants, and those with hypertension seemed to show a greater association of PM2.5 with FMD. FMD was not significantly associated with short-term variation in PM2.5 (−0.1% per 12 μg/m3 daily increase [95% CI: −0.2 to 0.04] on the day before examination).
Long-term PM2.5 exposure was significantly associated with decreased endothelial function according to brachial ultrasound results. These findings may elucidate an important pathway linking air pollution and cardiovascular mortality.
PMCID: PMC3665082  PMID: 23103035
air pollution; atherosclerosis; cardiovascular mortality; endothelial function; flow-mediated dilation; traffic
23.  The Epidemiology of Vascular Dysfunction Relating to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Emphysema 
Cor pulmonale has long been described in very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. Cross-sectional results from population-based studies show that left ventricular filling and a variety of vascular measures in the systemic circulation are abnormal in preclinical COPD and emphysema and that a predominant vascular change in COPD and emphysema is endothelial and microvascular dysfunction. These findings suggest that pulmonary vascular changes may occur early in COPD and emphysema and might contribute to pathogenesis. However, longitudinal epidemiologic studies with direct measures of the pulmonary vasculature are lacking; therefore, inferences are limited at present. New imaging-based approaches to the assessment of the pulmonary vasculature are applicable to epidemiologic studies and may help in defining the relationship of pulmonary vascular damage to progression of COPD and emphysema. These measures may also provide imaging-based surrogate markers, and novel therapeutics targeted to the pulmonary vasculature might reduce symptoms and improve function in these common diseases.
PMCID: PMC3359073  PMID: 22052931
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; pulmonary emphysema; pulmonary hypertension; vascular disease; pulmonary vasculature
24.  Prospective Study of Particulate Air Pollution Exposures, Subclinical Atherosclerosis, and Clinical Cardiovascular Disease 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2012;176(9):825-837.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air) was initiated in 2004 to investigate the relation between individual-level estimates of long-term air pollution exposure and the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). MESA Air builds on a multicenter, community-based US study of CVD, supplementing that study with additional participants, outcome measurements, and state-of-the-art air pollution exposure assessments of fine particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and black carbon. More than 7,000 participants aged 45–84 years are being followed for over 10 years for the identification and characterization of CVD events, including acute myocardial infarction and other coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and congestive heart failure; cardiac procedures; and mortality. Subcohorts undergo baseline and follow-up measurements of coronary artery calcium using computed tomography and carotid artery intima-medial wall thickness using ultrasonography. This cohort provides vast exposure heterogeneity in ranges currently experienced and permitted in most developed nations, and the air monitoring and modeling methods employed will provide individual estimates of exposure that incorporate residence-specific infiltration characteristics and participant-specific time-activity patterns. The overarching study aim is to understand and reduce uncertainty in health effect estimation regarding long-term exposure to air pollution and CVD.
PMCID: PMC3571256  PMID: 23043127
air pollution; atherosclerosis; cardiovascular diseases; environmental exposure; epidemiologic methods; particulate matter
25.  Right Ventricular Structure is Associated with the Risk of Heart Failure and Cardiovascular Death: The MESA-Right Ventricle Study 
Circulation  2012;126(14):1681-1688.
Changes in right ventricular (RV) morphology are associated with morbidity and mortality in heart and lung disease. We examined the association of abnormal RV structure and function with the risk of heart failure (HF) or cardiovascular death in a population-based multiethnic sample free of clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline.
Methods and Results
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) performed cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on 5098 participants between 2000–2002 with follow-up for incident heart failure and cardiovascular death (“death”) until January 2008. RV volumes and mass were available for 4204 participants. The study sample (N = 4,144) was 61.4 ± 10.1 years old and 47.6 % male. The presence of RV hypertrophy (increased RV mass) was associated with a more than twice the risk of heart failure or death after adjustment for demographics, body mass index, education, C-reactive protein level, hypertension, and smoking status (HR = 2.52, 95%CI 1.55–4.10, p < 0.001) and a doubling of risk (or more) with left ventricular mass at the mean value or lower (p for interaction = 0.05).
RV hypertrophy was associated with the risk of heart failure or death in a multi-ethnic population free of clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline.
PMCID: PMC3532921  PMID: 22932258
right ventricle; pulmonary heart disease; magnetic resonance imaging; pulmonary hypertension; survival

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