The association of subclinical vascular disease and early declines in kidney function has not been well studied.
Prospective cohort study
Setting & Participants
MESA participants with eGFR ≥60 ml/min/1.73m2 with follow-up of 5 years
Pulse pressure (pulse pressure), small and large arterial elasticity (SAE, LAE), and flow mediated dilation.
kidney function decline
SAE and LAE were measured by pulse contour analysis of the radial artery. Kidney function was measured by serum creatinine- and cystatin C-based eGFR.
Among 4,853 adults, higher pulse pressure and lower SAE and LAE had independent and linear associations with faster rates of kidney function decline. Compared to persons with pulse pressure 40–50mmHg, eGFRSCysC decline was 0.29 (p=0.006), 0.56 (p<0.001), and 0.91 (p<0.001) ml/min/1.73m2/year faster among persons with pulse pressure 50–60, 60–70, and >70mmHg, respectively. Compared to the highest quartile of SAE (most elastic), eGFRSCysC decline was 0.26 (p=0.009), 0.35 (p=0.001), and 0.70 (p<0.001) ml/min/1.73m2/year faster for the second, third and fourth quartiles respectively. For LAE, compared to the highest quartile, eGFRSCysC decline was 0.28 (p=0.004), 0.58 (p<0.001), and 0.83 (p<0.001) ml/min/1.73m2/year faster for each decreasing quartile of LAE. Findings were similar with creatinine-based eGFR. In contrast, among 2,997 adults with flow-mediated dilation and kidney function measures, flow-mediated dilation was not significantly associated with kidney function decline. For every 1-SD greater flow-mediated dilation, eGFRSCysC and eGFRSCr changed by 0.05 ml/min/1.73m2/year (p=0.3) and 0.06 ml/min/1.73m2/year (p=0.04), respectively.
We had no direct measure of GFR, in common with nearly all large population based studies.
Higher pulse pressure and lower arterial elasticity, but not flow-mediated dilation, were linearly and independently associated with faster kidney function decline among persons with eGFR ≥60 ml/min/1.73m2. Future studies investigate whether treatments to lower stiffness of large and small arteries may slow the rate of kidney function loss.
kidney function; arterial elasticity; chronic kidney disease; atherosclerosis
Simulation studies in population genetics play an important role in helping to better understand the impact of various evolutionary and demographic scenarios on sequence variation and sequence patterns, and they also permit investigators to better assess and design analytical methods in the study of disease-associated genetic factors. To facilitate these studies, it is imperative to develop simulators with the capability to accurately generate complex genomic data under various genetic models. Currently, a number of efficient simulation software packages for large-scale genomic data are available, and new simulation programs with more sophisticated capabilities and features continue to emerge. In this article, we review the three basic simulation frameworks—coalescent, forward, and resampling—and some of the existing simulators that fall under these frameworks, comparing them with respect to their evolutionary and demographic scenarios, their computational complexity, and their specific applications. Additionally, we address some limitations in current simulation algorithms and discuss future challenges in the development of more powerful simulation tools.
backward simulators; disease association study; forward simulators; genome simulation; resampling
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) detected by computed tomography is a non-invasive measure of coronary atherosclerosis, that underlies most cases of myocardial infarction (MI). We aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with CAC and further investigate their associations with MI.
Methods and Results
Computed tomography was used to assess quantity of CAC. A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for CAC was carried out in 9,961 men and women from five independent community-based cohorts, with replication in three additional independent cohorts (n=6,032). We examined the top single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with CAC quantity for association with MI in multiple large genome-wide association studies of MI. Genome-wide significant associations with CAC for SNPs on chromosome 9p21 near CDKN2A and CDKN2B (top SNP: rs1333049, P=7.58×10−19) and 6p24 (top SNP: rs9349379, within the PHACTR1 gene, P=2.65×10−11) replicated for CAC and for MI. Additionally, there is evidence for concordance of SNP associations with both CAC and with MI at a number of other loci, including 3q22 (MRAS gene), 13q34 (COL4A1/COL4A2 genes), and 1p13 (SORT1 gene).
SNPs in the 9p21 and PHACTR1 gene loci were strongly associated with CAC and MI, and there are suggestive associations with both CAC and MI of SNPs in additional loci. Multiple genetic loci are associated with development of both underlying coronary atherosclerosis and clinical events.
cardiac computed tomography; coronary artery calcification; coronary atherosclerosis; genome-wide association studies; myocardial infarction
We assessed the association between sleep apnea, snoring, incident cardiovascular (CV) events and all-cause mortality in the Multi Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort.
Out of 5338 respondents to a sleep questionnaire administered during the second MESA exam period, 208 had physician-diagnosed sleep apnea (PDSA), 1452 were habitual snorers (HS) and 3678 were neither a habitual snorer nor had PDSA (normal participants). Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to assess the associations adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, smoking, diabetes mellitus, total cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides, BMI, current alcohol use, benzodiazepine use, BP medications and statin use.
Over a 7.5 year average follow-up period, 310 adjudicated CV events including MI, stroke, angina, resuscitated cardiac arrest, stroke death and CVD death and 189 deaths occurred. Compared to HS, PDSA was associated with higher incident CV rates in both univariate and multivariable models [hazard ratio (95%); 1.89(1.22–2.93), p=0.004 and 1.91(1.20 –3.04), p=0.007 respectively]. PDSA was also associated with a higher death rates compared with HS [hazard ratio (95%); 2.13(1.25 – 3.63), p=0.006 and 2.70(1.52– 4.79), p=0.007 respectively]. Compared with normal participants, PDSA had higher incident CV event rates in both univariate and multivariable models [hazard ratio (95%); 2.23[1.39–3.60], p=0.001 and 2.16[1.30–3.58], p=0.003 respectively]. Similarly, PDSA had a higher death rate compared with normal participants in both the univariate and multivariable models [hazard ratio (95%CI); 2.44(1.36 – 4.37), p=0.003 and 2.71(1.45 – 5.08), p=0.002 respectively]. Habitual snorers had similar incident CV event rates and death rates in both univariate and multivariable models compared with normal participants.
PDSA but not habitual snoring was associated with high incident CV events and all-cause mortality in a multi-ethnic population based study of adults free of clinical CV disease at baseline.
Obstructive sleep apnea; habitual snorers; cardiovascular events; mortality; population
Elevated serum glucose from diabetes mellitus (DM) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG) shares many mechanisms with aging that decrease aortic distensibility (AD), such as glycation of the extra-cellular matrix. However, little data compares the simultaneous effects of elevated serum glucose and aging on AD. To study this, we examined the relationship between fasting glucose status, age, and AD in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA): a multi-ethnic cohort of individuals aged 45-84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease. In MESA, participants with normal fasting glucose (NFG; n = 2270), IFG (n = 870), and DM (n = 412) underwent MRI assessment of proximal thoracic aortic distensibility. This sample was 46% male, 42% white, 30% AA, 11% Asian, and 17% Hispanic. The relationship between glucose status, age, and AD was analyzed with general linear models by adjusting for factors influential on AD. An interaction term was used to determine if age modified the effect of glucose status on AD. AD was lowest among those with DM. The interaction term was significant (p = 0.024). Comparing participants less than 65 years of age, AD was different between NFG and DM (p < 0.01), and between NFG and IFG (p = 0.02). In those older than 65, fasting glucose group was no longer a significant predictor of AD. Our data indicate that there are overall differences in AD between DM, IFG, and NFG. However, age modified the effect of glucose status such that differences between the groups diminished with advancing age.
aging; aorta; diabetes mellitus; glucose; magnetic resonance imaging
To assess the cardiovascular risk of impaired fasting glucose (IFG).
The association between IFG, incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular (CV) events remains unclear.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) included participants aged 45–84 free of clinical CV disease at baseline (2000–2002). T2DM was defined as fasting glucose >125mg/dl or anti-diabetes medication at baseline and follow-up exams, IFG as no T2DM and fasting glucose 100–125.mg/dl. Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to assess the association between IFG and incident DM and also with incident CV events.
Of 6753 participants included in these analyses 840 (12.7%) had T2DM, 940 (13.8%) had IFG at the baseline exam. During 7.5 years of follow-up there were 418 adjudicated CV events. T2DM was associated with an increased CV incidence in the univariate [hazard ratio (HR); 2.83(2.25–3.56), p<0.0001] and multivariable models (adjusted for demographics and traditional risk factors) [HR; 1.87(1.47 – 2.37), p<0.0001] compared with subjects without T2DM (IFG + NFG). IFG was associated with increased incidence of T2DM [HR; 13.2 (95%CI 10.8–16.2), p<0.001] that remained after adjusting for demographics, highest educational level, physical activity and BMI [HR; 10.5(8.4–13.1), p<0.001] compared to NFG. IFG was associated with incident CV events in the univariate [HR; 1.64(1.26 – 2.14), p=<0.001] but not in the full multivariable model [HR; 1.16(95% CI 0.88–1.52), p=0.3] compared with NFG.
Having IFG was not independently associated with an increased short-term risk for incident CV events. These data reiterate the importance of intervention in persons with IFG to reduce their incidence of T2DM.
Impaired fasting glucose; diabetes mellitus; cardiovascular events; population
We investigated the influence of genetic variants (rare and common) in the gene encoding periostin (POSTN) on atherosclerosis as measured in arterial specimens from the “Pathobiological Determinants of Atherosclerosis in Youth” study (PDAY).
METHODS AND RESULTS
A comprehensive survey of common POSTN variants (87 SNPs) in PDAY subjects (n=2,527) identified numerous SNPs associated with raised lesions in abdominal aorta, and with fatty streaks in thoracic aorta. These SNPs belonged to a small number of correlation bins that spanned the entire locus. To examine effects of rare variants, we resequenced POSTN functional regions in PDAY cases with raised lesions (n=291) and controls with no raised lesions (n=294). However, we found no significant associations with case-control status for carriers of POSTN rare variants using the Weighted Sum Method for rare variant analysis.
We identified common variants in POSTN that are associated with arterial lesions in young persons from the PDAY study. This finding strongly supports a role for periostin in atherogenesis, as suggested by recent proteomics analysis that found abundant expression of periostin in atherosclerotic lesions. Genetic variation may influence atherosclerosis via periostin’s known involvement in multiple relevant pathways including angiogenesis, vascular remodeling, and stimulation of migration and differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells.
Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is a marker of cardiovascular disease derived from ultrasound images of the carotid artery. In most outcome studies, human readers identify and trace the key IMT interfaces. We evaluate an alternate approach using automated edge detection.
We study a subset of 5640 participants with an average age 61.7 years (48% men) of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis composed of whites, Chinese, Hispanic and African-Americans that are part of the MESA IMT progression study. Manual tracing IMT (mt_IMT) and edge-detected IMT (ed_IMT) measurements of the far wall of the common carotid artery (CCA) served as outcome variables for multivariable linear regression models using Framingham cardiovascular risk factors and ethnicity as independent predictors.
Measurements of mt_IMT was obtainable in 99.9% (5633/5640) and of ed_IMT in 98.9% (5579/5640) of individuals. Average ed_IMT was 0.19 mm larger than mt_IMT. Inter-reader systematic differences (bias) in IMT measurements were apparent for mt_IMT but not ed_IMT. Based on complete data on 5538 individuals, associations of IMT with risk factors were stronger (p < 0.0001) for mt_IMT (model r2: 19.5%) than ed_IMT (model r2: 18.5%).
We conclude that this edge-detection process generates IMT values equivalent to manually traced ones since it preserves key associations with cardiovascular risk factors. It also decreases inter-reader bias, potentially making it applicable for use in cardiovascular risk assessment.
Ultrasonography; Risk Factors; Carotid Arteries; Carotid Intima Media Thickness
Little is known regarding the association of scavenger receptor class B type I (SCARB1) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and subclinical atherosclerosis (SCA), particularly in subjects of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. We examined this relationship in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Methods and Results
Forty-three SCARB1 tagging SNPs were genotyped. Baseline examinations included fasting lipids and SCA phenotypes (coronary artery calcium [CAC], and common and internal carotid artery thickness [CCIMT and ICIMT]). Examining SNP associations with different SCA phenotypes across multiple racial/ethnic groups with adjustment for multiple covariates, we found the C allele of SNP rs10846744 was associated with higher CCIMT in African American (P=0.03), Chinese (P=0.02), European American (P=0.05), and Hispanic participants (P=0.03), and was strongly associated in pooled analyses (P=0.0002). The results also showed that the association of this SNP with CCIMT was independent of lipids and other well-established cardiovascular risk factors. Stratifying by sex, there appeared to be a strong association of rs10846744 with CCIMT in females, but no genotype-sex interactions were observed.
Variation in SCARB1 at rs10846744 was significantly associated with CCIMT across racial/ethnic groups in MESA.
genetics; atherosclerosis; cholesterol; lipids; prospective cohort study; genetic association
In diabetes, it remains unclear whether the coronary artery calcium (CAC) score provides additional information about total mortality risk beyond traditional risk factors.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A total of 1,051 participants, aged 34–86 years, in the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS) were followed for 7.4 years. Subjects were separated into five groups using baseline computed tomography scans and CAC scores (0–9, 10–99, 100–299, 300–999, and ≥1,000). Logistic regression was performed adjusting for age, sex, race, smoking, and LDL cholesterol to examine the association between CAC and all-cause mortality. Areas under the curve with and without CAC were compared. Natural splines using continuous measures of CAC were fitted to estimate the relationship between observed CAC and mortality risk.
A total of 17% (178 of 1,051) of participants died during the follow-up. In multivariate analysis, the odds ratios (95% CIs) for all-cause mortality, using CAC 0–9 as the reference group, were CAC 10–99: 1.40 (0.57–3.74); CAC 100–299: 2.87 (1.17–7.77); CAC 300–999: 3.04 (1.32–7.90); and CAC ≥1,000: 6.71 (3.09–16.87). The area under the curve without CAC was 0.68 (95% CI 0.66–0.70), and the area under the curve with CAC was 0.72 (0.70–0.74) (P = 0.0001). Using splines, the estimated risk (95% CI) of mortality for a CAC of 0 was 6.7% (4.6–9.7), and the risk increased nearly linearly, plateauing at CAC ≥1,000 (20.0% [15.7–25.2]).
In diabetes, CAC was shown to be an independent predictor of mortality. Participants with CAC (0–9) were at lower risk (0.9% annual mortality). The risk of mortality increased with increasing levels of CAC, plateauing at approximately CAC ≥1,000 (2.7% annual mortality). More research is warranted to determine the potential utility of CAC scans in diabetes.
Muscadine grape seeds have high concentrations of polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant and other properties that would be expected to have favorable effects on endothelial function.
To evaluate the effect of muscadine grape seed supplementation on endothelial function and cardiovascular risk factors in subjects with increased cardiovascular risk.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial, 50 adults with coronary disease or ≥1 cardiac risk factor received muscadine grape seed supplementation (1300 mg daily) and placebo for 4 weeks each, with a 4-week washout. Resting brachial diameter and brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and biomarkers of inflammation, lipid peroxidation, and antioxidant capacity were determined at the beginning and end of each period and compared in mixed linear models.
There was no evidence of improved FMD (% change) with muscadine grape seed (muscadine grape seed: pre 5.2% ± 0.3%, post 4.6% ± 0.3%, p = 0.06; placebo: pre 5.3% ± 0.4%, post 5.2% ± 0.4%, p = 0.82; p for muscadine grape seed vs. placebo = 0.25). However, there was a significant increase in baseline diameter (mm) with muscadine grape seed supplementation (muscadine grape seed: pre 4.05 ± 0.09, post 4.23 ± 0.10, p = 0.002; placebo: pre 4.12 ± 0.11, post 4.12 ± 0.10, p = 0.93; p for muscadine grape seed vs. placebo = 0.026). All other biomarkers were not significantly altered by muscadine grape seed supplementation.
Four weeks of muscadine grape seed supplementation in subjects with increased cardiovascular risk did not produce a statistically significant increase in brachial flow-mediated vasodilation or a significant change in other biomarkers of inflammation, lipid peroxidation, or antioxidant capacity. However, the muscadine grape seed supplement did result in a significant increase in resting brachial diameter. The clinical significance of the effect on resting diameter is not yet established. More research is warranted to fully characterize the vascular effects of this and other grape-derived nutritional supplements and to determine whether these vascular effects translate into important clinical benefits.
endothelial function; cardiovascular disease; dietary supplements; antioxidants
Background. The NCEP metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a combination of dichotomized interrelated risk factors from predominantly Caucasian populations. We propose a continuous MetS score based on principal component analysis (PCA) of the same risk factors in a multiethnic cohort and compare prediction of incident CVD events with NCEP MetS definition. Additionally, we replicated these analyses in the Health, Aging, and Body composition (Health ABC) study cohort. Methods and Results. We performed PCA of the MetS elements (waist circumference, HDL, TG, fasting blood glucose, SBP, and DBP) in 2610 Caucasian Americans, 801 Chinese Americans, 1875 African Americans, and 1494 Hispanic Americans in the multiethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort. We selected the first principal component as a continuous MetS score (MetS-PC). Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine the association between MetS-PC and 5.5 years of CVD events (n = 377) adjusting for age, gender, race, smoking and LDL-C, overall and by ethnicity. To facilitate comparison of MetS-PC with the binary NCEP definition, a MetS-PC cut point was chosen to yield the same 37% prevalence of MetS as the NCEP definition (37%) in the MESA cohort. Hazard ratio (HR) for CVD events were estimated using the NCEP and Mets-PC-derived binary definitions. In Cox proportional models, the HR (95% CI) for CVD events for 1-SD (standard deviation) of MetS-PC was 1.71 (1.54–1.90) (P < 0.0001) overall after adjusting for potential confounders, and for each ethnicity, HRs were: Caucasian, 1.64 (1.39–1.94), Chinese, 1.39 (1.06–1.83), African, 1.67 (1.37–2.02), and Hispanic, 2.10 (1.66-2.65). Finally, when binary definitions were compared, HR for CVD events was 2.34 (1.91–2.87) for MetS-PC versus 1.79 (1.46–2.20) for NCEP MetS. In the Health ABC cohort, in a fully adjusted model, MetS-PC per 1-SD (Health ABC) remained associated with CVD events (HR = 1.21, 95%CI 1.12–1.32) overall, and for each ethnicity, Caucasian (HR = 1.24, 95%CI 1.12–1.39) and African Americans (HR = 1.16, 95%CI 1.01–1.32). Finally, when using a binary definition of MetS-PC (cut point 0.505) designed to match the NCEP definition in terms of prevalence in the Health ABC cohort (35%), the fully adjusted HR for CVD events was 1.39, 95%CI 1.17–1.64 compared with 1.46, 95%CI 1.23–1.72 using the NCEP definition. Conclusion. MetS-PC is a continuous measure of metabolic syndrome and was a better predictor of CVD events overall and in individual ethnicities. Additionally, a binary MetS-PC definition was better than the NCEP MetS definition in predicting incident CVD events in the MESA cohort, but this superiority was not evident in the Health ABC cohort.
To test whether estrogen receptor polymorphisms modify the effects of postmenopausal hormone therapy on biomarkers and on risk of coronary heart disease events, stroke, or venous thrombo-embolism.
Methods and Results
The design was a nested case-control study in the Women’s Health Initiative trials of postmenopausal hormone therapy. The study included all cases in the first 4 years: coronary heart disease, 359; stroke, 248; venous thrombo-embolism, 217). Six estrogen receptor-αand one estrogen receptor-β polymorphisms were genotyped; 8 biomarkers known to be affected by hormone therapy were measured at baseline and one year after randomization. The polymorphisms were not associated with risk of vascular events, and did not modify the increased risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, or venous thrombo-embolism due to hormone therapy. However, a reduced response of plasmin-antiplasmin (PAP) to hormone therapy was noted for ESR1 IVS1-354 (interaction P<0.0001, corrected for multiple comparisons P=0.014) and ESR1 IVS1-1415 (interaction P<0.0001, corrected P= 0.014).
Estrogen receptor polymorphisms reduce the effect of postmenopausal hormone therapy on PAP, a marker of coagulation and fibrinolysis. However screening for ER polymorphisms to identify women at less risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes is not likely to be useful for making HT treatment decisions.
coronary heart disease; stroke; venous thromboembolism; estrogen; estrogen receptor; genetics; single nucleotide polymorphisms
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with dyslipidemia and with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Our objective was to compare the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on plasma lipoproteins and coronary disease progression in postmenopausal women with and without diabetes. Study subjects were participants in the Estrogen Replacement and Atherosclerosis trial, a placebo-controlled, randomized trial of HRT (conjugated equine estrogen 0.625 mg/day with or without medroxyprogesterone acetate 2.5 mg/day) in postmenopausal women with established CHD (men age 65±7 y). Plasma remnant lipoprotein levels and HDL subpopulation levels were measured at baseline and year 1. Quantitative coronary angiography was assessed at baseline and at follow-up. At baseline, remnant lipoprotein levels were significantly higher and HDL-C levels significantly lower in diabetic women than in women without diabetes. HRT lowered remnant lipoproteins and increased HDL-C and large HDL particle levels in both groups. However, during HRT, levels of these parameters were still significantly worse in diabetic women than in non-diabetic women. A significant interaction between HRT and diabetes status, with greater increases in plasma atheroprotective HDL α1 particles in non-diabetic women than in diabetic women during HRT, was observed. CHD progressed significantly more in women with diabetes than in women without diabetes. Our findings indicate that diabetes attenuates the HRT-related increase in atheroprotective HDL α1 particles. Faster progression of coronary atherosclerosis in women with diabetes could be mediated in part by a worse lipoprotein profile in these women than in women without diabetes, both before and during HRT.
Hormone replacement therapy; diabetes mellitus; lipoproteins; cholesterol; triglycerides; coronary heart disease
Introduction. Reduced kidney function, approximated by elevated cystatin C, is associated with diastolic dysfunction, heart failure, and cardiovascular mortality; however, the precise mechanism(s) that account for these relationships remains unclear. Understanding the relationship between cystatin C and subclinical left ventricular (LV) remodeling, across ethnically diverse populations, may help explain the mechanisms underlying the association of kidney dysfunction with heart failure and cardiovascular mortality. Methods. Measures of cystatin C and LV parameters were obtained from the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort at baseline (N = 4, 970 with complete data on cystatin C and LV parameters). LV parameters; LV end-diastolic (LVEDV) and end-systolic volumes (LVESV), LV mass (LVM), concentricity (LV mass/LV end-diastolic volume), and LV ejection fraction (LVEF) were measured using magnetic resonance imaging. Nested linear models were used to examine the relationship between higher quartiles of cystatin C and LV parameters, with and without adjustment for demographics, height, and weight, and traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Similar analyses were performed stratified by ethnicity and gender. Results. A fully adjusted model demonstrated a linear relationship between higher quartiles of cystatin C and lower LVEDV, (Mean ± SE, 128 ± 0.7, 128 ± 0.7, 126 ± 0.7, 124 ± 0.8 mL; P = 0.0001). Associations were also observed between higher quartiles of cystatin C and lower LVESV (P = 0.04) and concentricity (P = 0.0001). In contrast, no association was detected between cystatin C and LVM or LVEF. In analyses stratified by race and gender, the patterns of association between cystatin C quartiles and LV parameters were qualitatively similar to the overall association. Conclusion. Cystatin C levels were inversely associated with LVEDV and LVESV with a disproportionate decrease in LVEDV compared to LVM in a multi-ethnic population. This morphometric pattern of concentric left ventricular remodeling, may in part explain the process by which kidney dysfunction leads to diastolic dysfunction, heart failure and cardiovascular mortality.
Background. The association between plasma omega-6 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is unclear, and discrepancy remains concerning the cardiovascular benefit of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. Methods. Associations of plasma phospholipid fatty acid levels (arachidonic acid, linoleic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid) with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging measures of left ventricular (LV) mass, LV volume, ejection fraction, stroke volume, and aortic distensibility were investigated in 1,274 adults. Results. Results of multivariate analysis showed no statistically significant associations of plasma omega-6 or omega-3 levels with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging measures. Stratification by gender revealed a positive association between DHA and LV mass in women (β = 1.89, P = 0.02; P interaction = 0.003) and a trend for a positive association between DHA and ejection fraction in men (β = 0.009, P = 0.05; P interaction = 0.03). Conclusion. Additional research is warranted to clarify the effects of plasma DHA on cardiac structure and function in women versus men.
Background. There is an association between chronic kidney disease (CKD) and metabolic syndrome (MetS). We examined the joint association of CKD and MetS with incident cardiovascular (CVD) events in the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort. Methods. We analyzed 2,283 Caucasians, 363 Chinese, 1,449 African-Americans, and 1,068 Hispanics in the MESA cohort. CKD was defined by cystatin C estimated glomerular filtration rate ≤ 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 and MetS was defined by NCEP criteria. Cox proportional regression adjusting for age, ethnicity, gender, study site, education, income, smoking, alcohol use, physical activity, and total and LDL cholesterol was performed to assess the joint association of CKD and MetS with incident CVD events. Participants were divided into four groups by presence of CKD and/or MetS and compared to the group without CKD and MetS (CKD−/MetS−). Tests for additive and multiplicative interactions between CKD and MetS and prediction of incident CVD were performed. Results. During follow-up period of 5.5 years, 283 participants developed CVD. Multivariate Cox regression analysis demonstrated that CKD and MetS were independent predictors of CVD (hazard ratio, 2.02 for CKD, and 2.55 for MetS). When participants were compared to the CKD−/MetS− group, adjusted HR for the CKD+/MetS+ group was 5.56 (95% CI 3.72–8.12). There was no multiplicative interaction between CKD and MetS (P = 0.2); however, there was presence of additive interaction. The relative excess risk for additive interaction (RERI) was 2.73, P = 0.2, and the attributable portion (AP) was 0.49 (0.24–0.74). Conclusion. Our findings illustrate that the combination of CKD and MetS is a strong predictor of incident clinical cardiovascular events due to presence of additive interaction between CKD and MetS.
Interactions among genetic loci are believed to play an important role in disease risk. While many methods have been proposed for detecting such interactions, their relative performance remains largely unclear, mainly because different data sources, detection performance criteria, and experimental protocols were used in the papers introducing these methods and in subsequent studies. Moreover, there have been very few studies strictly focused on comparison of existing methods. Given the importance of detecting gene-gene and gene-environment interactions, a rigorous, comprehensive comparison of performance and limitations of available interaction detection methods is warranted.
We report a comparison of eight representative methods, of which seven were specifically designed to detect interactions among single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), with the last a popular main-effect testing method used as a baseline for performance evaluation. The selected methods, multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR), full interaction model (FIM), information gain (IG), Bayesian epistasis association mapping (BEAM), SNP harvester (SH), maximum entropy conditional probability modeling (MECPM), logistic regression with an interaction term (LRIT), and logistic regression (LR) were compared on a large number of simulated data sets, each, consistent with complex disease models, embedding multiple sets of interacting SNPs, under different interaction models. The assessment criteria included several relevant detection power measures, family-wise type I error rate, and computational complexity. There are several important results from this study. First, while some SNPs in interactions with strong effects are successfully detected, most of the methods miss many interacting SNPs at an acceptable rate of false positives. In this study, the best-performing method was MECPM. Second, the statistical significance assessment criteria, used by some of the methods to control the type I error rate, are quite conservative, thereby limiting their power and making it difficult to fairly compare them. Third, as expected, power varies for different models and as a function of penetrance, minor allele frequency, linkage disequilibrium and marginal effects. Fourth, the analytical relationships between power and these factors are derived, aiding in the interpretation of the study results. Fifth, for these methods the magnitude of the main effect influences the power of the tests. Sixth, most methods can detect some ground-truth SNPs but have modest power to detect the whole set of interacting SNPs.
This comparison study provides new insights into the strengths and limitations of current methods for detecting interacting loci. This study, along with freely available simulation tools we provide, should help support development of improved methods. The simulation tools are available at: http://code.google.com/p/simulation-tool-bmc-ms9169818735220977/downloads/list.
Background and Purpose
Retinal vascular caliber changes have been shown to predict stroke, but the underlying mechanism of this association is unknown. We examined the relationship between retinal vascular caliber with brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD), a measure of systemic endothelial function.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) is a population-based study of persons 45 to 84 years of age residing in 6 US communities free of clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline. Brachial FMD data were collected at baseline (July 2000 to June 2002), and retinal vascular caliber was measured from digital retinal photographs at the second examination, immediately after the first (August 2002 to January 2004). Data were available for 2851 participants for analysis.
The mean brachial FMD was 4.39±2.79%. After adjusting for age and gender, brachial FMD was reduced in persons with wider retinal venular caliber (changes in FMD −0.25, 95% CI, −0.36, − 0.13; P<0.001, per SD increase in venular caliber). This relationship persists after adjusting for systolic blood pressure, serum total cholesterol, use of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medication, body mass index, current smoking status, and hemoglobinA1C (−0.18; 95% CI −0.30, − 0.06; P=0.004, per SD increase in venular caliber). Brachial FMD was not associated with retinal arteriolar caliber.
Persons with wider retinal venules have reduced brachial FMD, independent of other vascular risk factors. This suggests that retinal venular caliber, previously shown to predict stroke, may be a marker of underlying systemic endothelial dysfunction.
epidemiology; vasodilation; imaging; endothelial function
Hypertension is associated with impaired endothelial function in cross-sectional studies. However, few longitudinal data exist on whether endothelial dysfunction precedes the development of hypertension. We examined the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between endothelial-dependent brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and hypertension prevalence and incidence in 3,500 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), an ethnically diverse, community-based cohort study. At baseline, the prevalence ratios (95% CI) of hypertension from the highest to the lowest quartile of FMD were 1.00 (referent), 1.26 (1.12 – 1.40), 1.35 (1.21 – 1.52), and 1.68 (1.50 – 1.87) (linear trend P < 0.001). This association remained (P = 0.017) after adjustment for demographics (age, gender, ethnicity), MESA site, and other risk factors. Of the 1,869 participants without hypertension at baseline, 584 (31.3%) developed hypertension over a median follow-up of 4.8 years. The unadjusted relative risks (95% CI) of incident hypertension from the highest to the lowest quartile of FMD were 1.00 (referent), 1.38 (1.14 – 1.67), 1.44 (1.19 – 1.74), and 1.64 (1.36 – 1.97) (linear trend P < 0.001). However, after adjustment for demographics and MESA site, the relationship between FMD and incident hypertension was attenuated and not statistically significant: 1.00 (referent), 1.26 (1.04 – 1.52), 1.19 (0.98 – 1.44), and 1.18 (0.97 – 1.44). The longitudinal results also did not appreciably change after adjustment for additional risk factors and baseline blood pressure levels. In this sample, reduced FMD was not an independent predictor of hypertension incidence, suggesting that impaired endothelial function does not play a major role in the development of hypertension.
hypertension; blood pressure; endothelium; atherosclerosis; epidemiology
Inflammatory markers predict coronary heart disease (CHD). However, associations with coronary artery calcium (CAC), a marker of subclinical CHD, are not established.
We examined cross-sectional associations of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and fibrinogen with CAC presence (Agatston score > 0 by computed tomography) in 6,783 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants.
In all participants, those in the highest, compared to lowest, quartile of CRP had a relative risk (RR, 95% confidence interval) of 1.13 (1.06-1.19; p<0.01) for CAC in age, sex and ethnicity adjusted models. For highest versus lowest quartiles, relative risks were 1.22 (1.15-1.30; p<0.01) for IL-6 and 1.18 (1.11-1.24; p<0.01) for fibrinogen. Adjusting for CHD risk factors (smoking, diabetes, blood pressure, obesity and dyslipidemia) attenuated RRs. RRs for CAC were 1.05 (0.99-1.12; p=0.63) for CRP, 1.12 (1.06-1.20; p<0.01) for IL-6 and 1.09 (1.02-1.16; p=0.01) for fibrinogen in multivariable adjusted models. Results were similar for men and women and across ethnic groups.
Inflammatory markers were weakly associated with CAC presence and burden in MESA. Our data support the hypothesis that inflammatory biomarkers and CAC reflect distinct pathophysiology.
Atherosclerosis; Calcium; Inflammation; Population
High plasma sphingomyelin level has been associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and worse prognosis in subjects with acute coronary syndromes. We assess the predictive value of plasma sphingomyelin levels for incident CHD events in the Multi Ethnic Study of atherosclerosis (MESA).
Method and Results
Plasma sphingomyelin was measured in 6809 out of 6814 subjects with mean age 62.2 ± 10.2 years, participating in the MESA study, a population based cohort study of adults free of clinical CVD at baseline recruited at six clinic sites in USA. The subjects consisted of 52.8% females, 38.5% Caucasian, 11.8% Chinese, 27.8% African Americans and 21.9% Hispanics. Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to examine the association between plasma sphingomyelin and five years of adjudicated incident CHD events including MI, resuscitated cardiac arrest, angina, CHD death and revascularization (CABG or PTCA). Mean (SD) plasma sphingomyelin level was 48 mg/dl (16.0). One hundred and eighty-nine subjects had an adjudicated CHD event during the five years of follow up. In the Kaplan meier analysis, subjects with plasma sphingomyelin level above the sex specific median had similar event free survival rate compared with subjects with plasma sphingomyelin level below or equal to the sex specific median (97.16% vs 97.0%, log rank p= 0.713). In the univariate Cox proportional hazard analysis, plasma sphingomyelin was not a predictor of incident CHD event [hazard ratio 0.992(0.982 – 1.004), p=0.09]. In our multistage multivariable Cox models, higher plasma sphingomyelin had modest negative association with incident CHD events when total cholesterol, HDL and triglycerides were included in the model [hazard ratio 0.985 (0.973 – 0.996), p=0.008] and also in our full model after adjusting for age, gender, total cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides, diabetes, cigarette smoking, systolic BP, diastolic BP, BP medication use, HMG CoA use [hazard ratio 0.984 (0.973 – 0.996), p=0.002]. In other models, plasma sphingomyelin was not associated with incident CHD events.
High plasma sphingomyelin level is not associated with increased risk of incident coronary heart disease in population based adults free of clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline.
Plasma sphingomyelin; prognosis; coronary heart disease events; epidemiology
A high degree of inter-individual variability in plasma lipid level response to hormone therapy (HT) has been reported. Variations in the oestrogen receptor α gene (ESR1) and in genes involved in lipid metabolism may explain some of the variability in response to HT.
Postmenopausal Caucasian women (N=208) participating in a placebo-controlled randomized trial of 3.2 years of hormone therapy (HT).
Plasma triglycerides (TG), remnant lipoprotein cholesterol (RLP-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels and HDL subpopulations were assessed at baseline and at follow-up. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ESR1 and in the ATP binding cassette A1 (ABCA1), cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), hepatic lipase (LIPC), lipoprotein lipase (LPL), and scavenger receptor class B type I (SRB1) genes were assessed for their association with baseline plasma levels and HT-related changes in levels of RLP-C and HDL subpopulations.
Carriers of the ESR1 PvuII or IVS1-1505 variants had lower plasma TG concentrations and higher plasma HDL-C and α-1 and preα-1 HDL particle levels at baseline and showed greater increases in HDL-C, apo A-I and α-1 particle levels after HT than wild-type carriers. Carriers of the N291S and D9N variants in the LPL gene had significantly higher remnant lipoproteins and lower α-2 HDL particle levels at baseline. The CETP TaqIB SNP was a significant determinant of baseline plasma HDL-C and HDL subpopulation profile.
SNPs in ESR1, CETP and LPL had significant effects on baseline plasma levels of TG-rich and HDL subpopulations. With the exception of ESR1 SNPs, variation in genes involved in lipid metabolism has a very modest effect on lipoprotein response to HT.
high-density lipoprotein; remnant lipoproteins; single nucleotide polymorphism hormone therapy
To determine the effect of statins and hormone replacement therapy on submaximal exercise induced coronary artery blood flow in postmenopausal women without a history of coronary artery disease.
Hormone replacement or statin therapy in early postmenopausal women without coronary artery disease have been shown to enhance arterial endothelial function; we hypothesized that these agents would improve submaximal exercise induced coronary artery blood flow.
Sixty-four postmenopausal women, aged 50–65 years without documented coronary artery disease, were randomized in a double blinded, cross-over fashion to receive 8 weeks of hormone replacement therapy versus placebo, with or without 80 mg/day of atorvastatin. Prior to receipt of any therapy and after each treatment period, each woman underwent measures of coronary artery blood flow at rest and stress.
The combination of hormone replacement therapy and atorvastatin increased submaximal exercise induced coronary artery blood flow (p=0.04). In the subgroups of women compliant with treatment, resting coronary artery blood flow increased in those receiving hormone replacement therapy (p=0.03) or statin therapy (p=0.02).
In postmenopausal women aged 50–65 years without documented coronary artery disease, rest and submaximal exercise induced coronary artery blood flow improve after receipt of high dose atorvastatin and conjugated estrogen therapy.
estrogen; statins; exercise; magnetic resonance imaging; coronary artery flow
Many different genetic and clinical factors have been identified as causes or contributors to atherosclerosis. We present a model of preclinical atherosclerosis based on genetic and clinical data that predicts the presence of coronary artery calcification in healthy Americans of European descent aged 45 to 84 in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Methods and Results:
We assessed 712 individuals for the presence or absence of coronary artery calcification, and their genotypes for 2882 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Using these SNPs and relevant clinical data, a Bayesian network that predicts the presence of coronary calcification was constructed. The model contains 13 SNPs (from genes AGTR1, ALOX15, INSR, PRKAB1, IL1R2, ESR2, KCNK1, FBLN5, PPARA, VEGFA, PON1, TDRD6, PLA2G7, and one ancestry informative marker) and 5 clinical variables (sex, age, weight, smoking, and diabetes) and achieves 85% predictive accuracy, as measured by area under the ROC curve (AUC). This is a significant (p < 0.001) improvement upon models using just the SNP data or using just the clinical variables.
We present an investigation of joint genetic and clinical factors associated with atherosclerosis that shows predictive results for both cases, and enhanced performance for the combination.
atherosclerosis; genetics; risk factors