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author:("Katz, pronit")
1.  Association between inflammatory markers and liver fat: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver disease. Data is emerging that an independent association between markers of subclinical atherosclerosis and NAFLD exists and it may be considered as an independent predictor of cardiovascular (CV) outcomes. We aim to better characterize the relationship between NAFLD and inflammatory markers in a multi-ethnic cohort by assessing fatty liver on computed tomography (CT) scans.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) is a longitudinal, population-based study from four ethnic groups free of CV disease at baseline. The inflammatory markers studied include: C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL-6). On CT scans liver-to-spleen ratio (LSR: Hounsfield Units (HU) of the liver divided by HU of spleen) of <1 and liver attenuation of <40 HU were used as criteria for fatty liver. Unadjusted and adjusted multivariate linear and logistic regression analysis was performed.
4038 participants amongst 6814 MESA population with visible spleen on the CT scan, available CRP and IL-6 levels and no reported liver cirrhosis were included. The average age was 61 +/− 10 years, 37% Caucasians and 45% were males. Mean CRP and IL-6 were 2.36 mg/dl and 1.37 pg/ml respectively. 696 participants (17%) had LSR of <1 and 253 (6%) had liver attenuation of <40 HU. When using LSR <1 as a continuous variable, the correlation (adjusted odds ratio (OR)) with CRP >2.0 was 0.037 (95% CI: 0.02-0.054) and with IL-6 was 0.014 (95% CI: 0.004-0.023). On the other hand when presence and absence of LSR <1 was considered, higher ORs for association with CRP >2: 1.41 (95% CI: 1.16 to 1.73) and IL6:1.18 (95% CI: 1.05 to 1.31) were found. Similarly, the adjusted association of per unit decrease in liver attenuation with CRP>2 was 1.92 (95% CI: 1.20 to 2.63) while for IL-6 was 1.08 (95% CI: 0.69 to 1.47). When considering presence and absence of liver attenuation <40 HU the OR for CRP >2 was 2.27 (95% CI: 1.62 to 3.16) and for IL-6 was 1.33 (95% CI: 1.13 to 1.58).
CRP and IL-6 levels were found to be significantly associated with liver fat assessed on CT scan after adjusting for other risk factors for atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4296580  PMID: 25598995
Inflammation; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; computed tomography scan; C reactive protein
2.  Association of a Cystatin C Gene Variant With Cystatin C Levels, CKD, and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality 
Carriers of the T allele of the single-nucleotide polymorphism rs13038305 tend to have lower cystatin C levels and higher cystatin C-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcys). Adjusting for this genetic effect on cystatin C concentrations may improve GFR estimation, reclassify cases of CKD, and strengthen risk estimates for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality.
Study Design
Setting & Population
Four population-based cohorts: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC), Cardiovascular Health (CHS), Framingham Heart (FHS), and Health, Aging, and Body Compostion (Health ABC) studies.
We estimated the association of rs13038305 with eGFRcys and eGFRcr, and performed longitudinal analyses of the associations of eGFRcys with mortality and cardiovascular events following adjustment for rs13038305.
We assessed reclassification by genotype-adjusted eGFRcys across CKD categories: <45, 45–59, 60–89, and ≥90 mL/min/1.73 m2. We compared mortality and CVD outcomes in those reclassified to a worse eGFRcys category with those unaffected. Results were combined using fixed-effect inverse-variance meta-analysis.
In 14,645 participants, each copy of the T allele of rs13038305 (frequency, 21%), was associated with 6.4% lower cystatin C concentration, 5.5 mL/min/1.73 m2 higher eGFRcys, and 36% [95% CI, 29%–41%] lower odds of CKD. Associations with CVD (HR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.14–1.20) and mortality (HR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.19–1.24) per 10- ml/min/1.73 m2 lower eGFRcys were similar with or without rs13038305 adjustment. In total, 1134 participants (7.7%) were reclassified to a worse CKD category following rs13038305 adjustment, and rates of CVD and mortality were higher in individuals who were reclassified. However, the overall net reclassification index was not significant for either outcome, at 0.009 (95% CI, −0.003 to 0.022) for mortality and 0.014 (95% CI, 0.0 to 0.028) for CVD.
rs13038305 only explains a small proportion of cystatin C variation.
Statistical adjustment can correct a genetic bias in GFR estimates based on cystatin C in carriers of the T allele of rs13038305 and result in changes in disease classification. However, on a population level, the effects on overall reclassification of CKD status are modest.
PMCID: PMC3872167  PMID: 23932088
Cystatin C; chronic kidney disease; genetics; single nucleotide polymorphism; net reclassification improvement
3.  Relation of Thoracic Aortic Distensibility to Left Ventricular Area (From the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis [MESA]) 
The American journal of cardiology  2013;113(1):178-182.
Decreased arterial compliance is an early manifestation of adverse structural and functional changes within the vessel wall. Its correlation with left ventricular (LV) area on computed tomography (CT), a marker of LV remodeling, has not been well demonstrated. We tested the hypothesis that decreasing aortic compliance and increasing arterial stiffness is independently associated with increased LV area. The study population consisted of 3,540 (61±10 years, 46% men) from the MESA study who underwent aortic distensibility (AD) assessment on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and LV area measurement on CT (adjusted to body surface area). Multivariable logistic regression was performed to assess the association between body surface area (BSA) normalized LV area >75th percentile and AD after adjusting for baseline clinical, historical and imaging covariates. The mean LV area /BSA was 2,153 cm2 and mean AD was 1.84 mm Hg−1 x103. Subjects in the lowest AD quartile were older with higher prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia (p<0.05 for all comparisons). Using multivariate linear regression adjusting for demographics, traditional risk factors, coronary artery calcium and C-reactive protein, each standard deviation decrease was associated with 18 cm2 increase in the LV area. In addition, decreasing AD quartiles were independently associated with increased BSA LV area defined as >75th percentile. In this multi-ethnic cohort, reduced AD was associated with increased LV area. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine if decreased distensibility precedes and directly influences increased LV area.
PMCID: PMC3912190  PMID: 24210674
Arterial compliance; Left ventricular area; Computed tomography; Aortic Distensibility
4.  Thoracic Aortic Distensibility and Thoracic Aortic Calcium (From the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis [MESA]) 
The American journal of cardiology  2010;106(4):575-580.
Decreased arterial distensibility is an early manifestation of adverse structural and functional changes within the vessel wall. Its correlation with thoracic aortic calcium (TAC), a marker of atherosclerosis, has not been well demonstrated. We tested the hypothesis that decreasing aortic compliance and increasing arterial stiffness is independently associated with increased TAC. We included 3,540 (61±10 years, 46% males) subjects from the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study who underwent aortic distensibility (AD) assessment on MRI. TAC was calculated using modified Agatston algorithm on non-contrast cardiac CT. Multivariate regression models were calculated for the presence of TAC. Overall, 861 (24%) individuals had detectable TAC. A lower AD was observed among those with vs. without TAC (2.02±1.34 vs. 1.28±0.74, p<0.0001). The prevalence of TAC increased significantly across decreasing quartiles of AD (7%, 17%, 31%, and 42%, p<0.0001). Using multivariate analysis, TAC was independently associated with AD after adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity and other covariates. In conclusion, our analysis demonstrates that increased arterial stiffness is associated with increased TAC independent of ethnicity and other atherosclerotic risk factors.
PMCID: PMC4228943  PMID: 20691319
5.  Fibroblast Growth Factor 23, Left Ventricular Mass, and Left Ventricular Hypertrophy in Community-Dwelling Older Adults 
Atherosclerosis  2013;231(1):10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.09.002.
In chronic kidney disease (CKD), high FGF23 concentrations are associated with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), cardiovascular events, and death. The associations of FGF23 with left ventricular mass (LVM) and LVH in the general population and the influence of CKD remains uncertain.
C-terminal plasma FGF23 concentrations were measured, and LVM and LVH evaluated by echocardiogram among 2255 individuals ≥65 years in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Linear regression analysis adjusting for demographics, cardiovascular, and kidney related risk factors examined the associations of FGF23 concentrations with LVM. Analyses were stratified by CKD status and adjusted linear and logistic regression analysis explored the associations of FGF23 with LVM and LVH.
Among the entire cohort, higher FGF23 concentrations were associated with greater LVM in adjusted analyses (β=6.71 [95% CI 4.35–9.01] g per doubling of FGF23). 32% (n=624) had CKD (eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73m2 and/or urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio >30 mg/g). Associations were stronger among participants with CKD (p interaction = 0.006): LVM β=9.71 [95% CI 5.86–13.56] g per doubling of FGF23 compared to those without CKD (β=3.44 [95% CI 0.77, 6.11] g per doubling of FGF23). While there was no significant interaction between FGF23 and CKD for LVH (p interaction = 0.25), the OR (1.46 95% CI [1.20–1.77]) in the CKD group was statistically significant and of larger magnitude than the OR for in the no CKD group (1.12 [95% CI 0.97–1.48]).
In a large cohort of older community-dwelling adults, higher FGF23 concentrations were associated with greater LVM and LVH with stronger relationships in participants with CKD.
PMCID: PMC3840534  PMID: 24125420
Left ventricular mass; left ventricular hypertrophy; chronic kidney disease; fibroblast growth factor 23; older adults; cardiovascular disease
6.  Influence of Urine Creatinine Concentrations on the Relation of Albumin-Creatinine Ratio With Cardiovascular Disease Events: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Higher urine albumin-creatinine ratio (ACR) is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, an association that is stronger than that between spot urine albumin on its own and CVD. Urine creatinine is correlated with muscle mass, and low muscle mass is also associated with CVD. Whether low urine creatinine in the denominator of the ACR contributes to the association of ACR with CVD is uncertain.
Study Design
Prospective cohort study.
Setting & Participants
6,770 community-living individuals without CVD.
Spot urine albumin, the reciprocal of the urine creatinine concentration (1/UCr), and ACR.
Incident CVD events.
During a mean of 7.1 years’ follow-up, 281 CVD events occurred. Geometric means for spot urine creatinine, urine albumin and ACR were 95 ± 2 (SD) mg/dl, 0.7 ± 3.7 mg/dl and 7.0 ± 3.1 mg/g. Adjusted HRs per 2-fold higher increment in each urinary measures with CVD events were similar (1/UCr: 1.07 [95% CI, 0.94-1.22]; urine albumin: 1.08 [95% CI, 1.01-1.14]; and ACR: 1.11 [95% CI, 1.04-1.18]). Urine creatinine was lower in older, female, and low weight individuals. ACR ≥10 mg/g was more strongly associated with CVD events in individuals with low weight (HR for lowest vs. highest tertile: 4.34 vs. 1.97; p for interaction=0.006). Low weight also modified the association of urine albumin with CVD (p for interaction=0.06), but 1/urine creatinine did not (p for interaction=0.9).
We lacked 24-hour urine data.
While ACR is more strongly associated with CVD events among persons with low body weight, this association is not driven by differences in spot urine creatinine. Overall, the associations of ACR with CVD events appear to be driven primarily by urine albumin and less by urine creatinine.
PMCID: PMC3783582  PMID: 23830183
7.  Association of Obesity and Kidney Function Decline among Non-Diabetic Adults with eGFR > 60 ml/min/1.73m2: Results from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Obesity is associated with higher end-stage renal disease incidence, but associations with earlier forms of kidney disease remain incompletely characterized.
We studied the association of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) with rapid kidney function decline and incident chronic kidney disease in 4573 non-diabetic adults with eGFR ≥ 60 ml/min/1.73m2 at baseline from longitudinal Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort. Kidney function was estimated by creatinine and cystatin C. Multivariate analysis was adjusted for age, race, baseline eGFR, and hypertension.
Mean age was 60 years old, BMI 28 kg/m2, baseline eGFRCr 82 and eGFRCys 95 ml/min/1.73m2. Over 5 years of follow up, 25% experienced rapid decline in renal function by eGFRCr and 22% by eGFRCys. Incident chronic kidney disease (CKD) developed in 3.3% by eGFRCys, 11% by eGFRCr, and 2.4% by both makers. Compared to persons with BMI < 25, overweight (BMI 25 – 30) persons had the lowest risk of rapid decline by eGFRCr (0.84, 0.71 – 0.99). In contrast, higher BMI categories were associated with stepwise higher odds of rapid decline by eGFRCys, but remained significant only when BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 (1.87, 1.41 – 2.48). Associations of BMI with incident CKD were insignificant after adjustment. Large WC and WHR were associated with increased risk of rapid decline only by eGFRCys, and of incident CKD only when defined by both filtration markers.
Obesity may be a risk factor for kidney function decline, but associations vary by filtration marker used.
PMCID: PMC4157691  PMID: 25210651
Kidney Function Decline; MESA; Obesity; Waist Circumference; Waist-to-Hip Ratio
8.  Cystatin C versus Creatinine in Determining Risk Based on Kidney Function 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;369(10):932-943.
Adding the measurement of cystatin C to that of serum creatinine to determine the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) improves accuracy, but the effect on detection, staging, and risk classification of chronic kidney disease across diverse populations has not been determined.
We performed a meta-analysis of 11 general-population studies (with 90,750 participants) and 5 studies of cohorts with chronic kidney disease (2960 participants) for whom standardized measurements of serum creatinine and cystatin C were available. We compared the association of the eGFR, as calculated by the measurement of creatinine or cystatin C alone or in combination with creatinine, with the rates of death (13,202 deaths in 15 cohorts), death from cardiovascular causes (3471 in 12 cohorts), and end-stage renal disease (1654 cases in 7 cohorts) and assessed improvement in reclassification with the use of cystatin C.
In the general-population cohorts, the prevalence of an eGFR of less than 60 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area was higher with the cystatin C–based eGFR than with the creatinine-based eGFR (13.7% vs. 9.7%). Across all eGFR categories, the reclassification of the eGFR to a higher value with the measurement of cystatin C, as compared with creatinine, was associated with a reduced risk of all three study outcomes, and reclassification to a lower eGFR was associated with an increased risk. The net reclassification improvement with the measurement of cystatin C, as compared with creatinine, was 0.23 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18 to 0.28) for death and 0.10 (95% CI, 0.00 to 0.21) for end-stage renal disease. Results were generally similar for the five cohorts with chronic kidney disease and when both creatinine and cystatin C were used to calculate the eGFR.
The use of cystatin C alone or in combination with creatinine strengthens the association between the eGFR and the risks of death and end-stage renal disease across diverse populations. (Funded by the National Kidney Foundation and others.)
PMCID: PMC3993094  PMID: 24004120
9.  Race, Gender, and Mortality in Adults ≥65 Years of Age With Incident Heart Failure (from the Cardiovascular Health Study) 
The American journal of cardiology  2009;103(8):1120-1127.
In patients with heart failure (HF), mortality is lower in women versus men. However, it is unknown whether the survival advantage in women compared with men is present in both whites and African Americans with HF. The inception cohort consisted of adults ≥65 years with incident HF after enrollment in the CHS, a prospective population-based study of cardiovascular disease. Of 5,888 CHS subjects, 1,264 developed new HF and were followed up for 3 years. Subjects were categorized into 4 race-gender groups, and Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to examine whether 3-year total and cardiovascular mortality differed among the 4 groups after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, co-morbidities, and treatment. A gender-race interaction was also tested for each outcome. In subjects with incident HF, African Americans had more hypertension and diabetes than whites, and white men had more coronary heart disease than other gender-race groups. Receipt of cardiovascular treatments among the 4 groups was similar. Mortality rates after HF were lower in women compared with men (for white women, African-American women, African-American men, and white men, total mortality was 35.5, 33.6, 44.4, and 40.5/100 person-years, and cardiovascular mortality was 18.4, 19.5, 20.2, and 22.7/100 person-years, respectively). After adjusting for covariates, women had a 15% to 20% lower risk of total and cardiovascular mortality compared with men, but there was no significant difference in outcome by race. The gender-race interaction for either outcome was not significant. In conclusion, in older adults with HF, women had significantly better survival than men irrespective of race, suggesting that gender-based survival differences may be more important than race-based differences.
PMCID: PMC4122325  PMID: 19361600
10.  The Prevalence and Clinical Correlates of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) in African Americans: The Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Digestive diseases and sciences  2013;58(8):2392-2398.
Background and Aims
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the number one cause of liver disease in the United States. The prevalence rates in African Americans (AA), while significantly lower than other ethnic groups with similar known risk factors, have been quoted as high as 24 %. We aim to determine if the presence of NAFLD in African Americans is associated with lower triglyceride and/or higher HDL-c levels and if NAFLD risk factors in African Americans differ from other ethnic groups.
A total of 3,056 participants of the Multi Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis were included in this study. We utilized the baseline serum, anthropometric and radiographic measurements obtained between 2000 and 2002. NAFLD was defined as liver spleen ratio <1 from CT measurements.
The prevalence of NAFLD was and 11 % in AA. We found that age, education, triglyceride levels, HDL-c levels, waist circumference and HOMA-IR were independent correlates of NAFLD in this population. Among those with NAFLD, AA had significantly lower triglyceride levels than Hispanics [125 mg/dl (95 % CI 107–143) versus 192 mg/dl (95 % CI 169–215), p < 0.001] and Caucasians [185 mg/dl (95 % CI 161–209), p = 0.001]. Serum HDL-c was significantly higher in AA with NAFLD (47 mg/dl; 95 % CI 45–50) when compared to Hispanics (44 mg/dl; 95 % CI 43–66, p = 0.02) and Caucasians (44 mg/dl; 95 % CI 42–46, p = 0.02) with NAFLD.
This study demonstrated that the clinical correlates of NAFLD in African Americans are similar to the correlates of NAFLD in other ethnic groups. Our data also suggests that when evaluating African Americans for NAFLD risk, lower cutoff values should be used to define abnormal triglyceride levels.
PMCID: PMC3780774  PMID: 23546700
NAFLD; Prevalence; African Americans; Predictors; Clinical correlates
11.  Blood Pressure Components and Decline in Kidney Function in Community-Living Older Adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study 
American Journal of Hypertension  2013;26(8):1037-1044.
Although hypertension contributes to kidney dysfunction in the general population, the contributions of elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and pulse pressure (PP) to kidney function decline in community-dwelling older adults are unknown.
We used linear and logistic regression to examine the separate and combined associations of SBP, DBP, and PP at baseline with kidney function decline among 4,365 older adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study. We used cystatin C to estimate glomerular filtration rate on 3 occasions over 7 years of follow-up. We defined rapid decline ≥ 3ml/min/year.
Average age was 72.2 and mean (standard deviation) SBP, DBP, and PP were 135 (21), 71 (11), and 65 (18) mm Hg, respectively. SBP and PP, rather than DBP, were most significantly associated with kidney function decline. In adjusted linear models, each 10-mm Hg increment in SBP and PP was associated with 0.13ml/min/year (–0.19, –0.08, P < 0.001) and 0.15-ml/min/year faster decline (–0.21, –0.09, P < 0.001), respectively. Each 10-mm Hg increment in DBP was associated with a nonsignificant 0.10-ml/min/year faster decline (95% confidence interval, –0.20, 0.01). In adjusted logistic models, SBP had the strongest associations with rapid decline, with 14% increased hazard of rapid decline (95% confidence interval, 10% to 17%, P < 0.01) per 10mm Hg. In models combining BP components, only SBP consistently had independent associations with rapid decline.
Our findings suggest that elevated BP, particularly SBP, contributes to declining kidney function in older adults.
PMCID: PMC3816322  PMID: 23709568
blood pressure; cystatin C; diastolic blood pressure; elderly; hypertension; kidney function; systolic blood pressure.
12.  Relationship of Carotid Distensibility and Thoracic Aorta Calcification: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Hypertension  2009;54(6):1408-1415.
Stiffening of the central elastic arteries is one of the earliest detectable manifestations of adverse change within the vessel wall. While an association between carotid artery stiffness and adverse events has been demonstrated, little is known about the relationship between stiffness and atherosclerosis. Even less is known about the impact of age, gender, and race on this association. To elucidate this question, we used baseline data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA, 2000-2002). Carotid artery distensibility coefficient (DC) was calculated after visualization of the instantaneous waveform of common carotid diameter using high resolution B-mode ultrasound. Thoracic aorta calcification (TAC) was identified using non-contrast cardiac CT. We found a strong association between decreasing DC (increasing carotid stiffness) and increasing TAC as well as a graded increase in TAC score (p<0.001). After controlling for age, gender, race, and traditional and emerging cardiovascular risk factors, individuals in the stiffest quartile had a prevalence ratio of 1.52 (95% CI 1.15-2.00) for TAC compared to the least stiff quartile. In exploratory analysis, carotid stiffness was more highly correlated with calcification of the aorta than calcification of the coronary arteries (ρ=0.32 vs. 0.22, p<0.001 for comparison). In conclusion, there is a strong independent association between carotid stiffness and thoracic aorta calcification. Carotid stiffness is more highly correlated with calcification of the aorta, a central elastic artery, than calcification of the coronary arteries. The prognostic significance of these findings requires longitudinal follow-up of the MESA cohort.
PMCID: PMC4118641  PMID: 19805639
Carotid stiffness; carotid compliance; subclinical atherosclerosis; thoracic aorta calcification; coronary calcification
13.  Thoracic Aortic Calcification and Coronary Heart Disease Events: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Atherosclerosis  2010;215(1):196-202.
The presence and extent of coronary artery calcium (CAC) is an independent predictor of coronary heart disease (CHD) morbidity and mortality. Few studies have evaluated interactions or independent incremental risk for coronary and thoracic aortic calcification (TAC). The independent predictive value of TAC for CHD events is not well-established.
This study used risk factor and computed tomography scan data from 6,807 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Using the same images for each participant, TAC and CAC were each computed using the Agatston method. The study subjects were free of incident CHD at entry into the study.
The mean age of the study population (n=6807) was 62±10 years (47% males). At baseline, the prevalence of TAC and CAC was 28 % (1,904/6,809) and 50% (3393/6809), respectively. Over 4.5±0.9 years, a total of 232 participants (3.41%) had CHD events, of which 132 (1.94%) had a hard event (myocardial infarction, resuscitated cardiac arrest, or CHD death). There was a significant interaction between gender and TAC for CHD events (p<0.05). Specifically, in women, the risk of all CHD event was nearly 3-fold greater among those with any TAC (hazard ratio: 3.04, 95% CI; 1.60–5.76). After further adjustment for increasing CAC score, this risk was attenuated but remained robust (HR: 2.15, 95% CI: 1.10–4.17). Conversely, there was no significant association between TAC and incident CHD in men. In women, the likelihood ratio chi square statistics indicate that the addition of TAC contributed significantly to predicting incident CHD event above that provided by traditional risk factors alone (chi square= 12.44, p=0.0004) as well as risk factors + CAC scores (chi square= 5.33, p=0.02) . On the other hand, addition of TAC only contributed in the prediction of hard CHD events to traditional risk factors (chi-square=4.33, p=0.04) in women, without contributing to the model containing both risk factors and CAC scores (chi square=1.55, p=0.21).
Our study indicates that TAC is a significant predictor of future coronary events only in women, independent of CAC. On studies obtained for either cardiac or lung applications, determination of TAC may provide modest supplementary prognostic information in women with no extra cost or radiation.
PMCID: PMC4110678  PMID: 21227418
atherosclerosis; cardiac CT; coronary calcium; multi-detector CT; prognosis; thoracic atherosclerosis
14.  Association Between Coronary Artery Calcification Progression and Microalbuminuria 
JACC. Cardiovascular imaging  2010;3(6):595-604.
This study sought to evaluate the relationship between microalbuminuria (MA) and the development and progression of atherosclerosis, as assessed by incident and progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC).
MA is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but the mechanism by which MA imparts this increased risk is not known.
The MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) study is a prospective cohort study of 6,814 self-identified White, African-American, Hispanic, or Chinese participants free of clinical cardiovascular disease at entry. Of the 6,775 individuals with available urine albumin data, we excluded 97 subjects with macroalbuminuria and 1,023 with missing follow-up CAC data. The final study population consists of 5,666 subjects.
At baseline, individuals with MA were more likely to have CAC >0 compared with those without MA (62% vs. 48%, p < 0.0001). During a mean follow-up of 2.4 ± 0.8 years, those with MA and no CAC at baseline were more likely to develop CAC (relative risk [RR]: 2.05, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.41 to 3.02, p < 0.0001) as compared with those without MA in demographic-adjusted analyses. After multivariant adjustment, the relationship was attenuated but remained statistically significant (RR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.19 to 2.61, p = 0.005). Among those with CAC at baseline, those with versus those without MA had a 15 (95% CI: 8 to 22, p < 0.0001) volume units higher median increase in CAC in demographic-adjusted analyses. After multivariant adjustment, MA remained associated with incident CAC (RR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.19 to 2.61, p = 0.005) and with progression of CAC (median increase in CAC volume score of 9 [95% CI: 2 to 16, p = 0.009]), relative to those without MA.
This large multiethnic, population-based study of asymptomatic individuals demonstrates an increased risk of incident CAC as well as greater CAC progression among those with MA. Further study is needed to determine the degree to which MA precedes and predicts progression of atherosclerosis and how this information can be used to reduce cardiovascular events.
PMCID: PMC4083743  PMID: 20541715
coronary artery calcium; microalbuminuria; risk prediction; coronary heart disease; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
15.  Gender‐Specific Risk Factors for Peripheral Artery Disease in a Voluntary Screening Population 
Women have high rates of peripheral artery disease (PAD) despite fewer cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, compared to men. We sought to determine the gender‐specific prevalence of low ankle brachial index (ABI) and the relationship to C‐reactive protein (CRP) levels and CVD risk factors in the Life Line Screening population.
Methods and Results
Between April 2005 and August 2011, 133 750 women and 71 996 men had ABI and CRP measured at a Life Line Screening Center. Women were slightly older than men, whereas men were more likely to be current smokers, have diabetes mellitus (DM), and coronary artery disease (CAD) (P<0.001 for each). Women were more likely to have ABI≤1.0, compared to men (26.6% versus 14.4%, respectively; P<0.001), as well as ABI≤0.9 (4.1% women versus 2.6% men; P<0.001). Women had higher median CRP levels (1.94 mg/L; interquartile range [IQR], 0.89, 4.44 mg/L), compared to men (1.35 mg/L; IQR, 0.73, 2.80 mg/L; P<0.001). Men and women shared similar risk factors for ABI≤0.9, including older age, black race, smoking, DM, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, CAD, and elevated CRP levels. In an adjusted model, there were significant interactions between gender and age (P<0.001), CRP (P<0.001), CAD (P=0.03), and DM (P=0.06) with ABI as the outcome. The associations between age, CRP, CAD, and DM with ABI≤0.9 were stronger in men than in women.
Women participating in the Life Line Screening had higher CRP levels and a higher prevalence of PAD, compared to men. Neither higher CRP levels nor conventional CVD risk factors explained the excess prevalence of PAD in women.
PMCID: PMC4187488  PMID: 24627420
C‐reactive protein; gender differences; peripheral artery disease; risk factor
16.  Hypertension and Low HDL-Cholesterol were Associated with Reduced Kidney Function Across the Age Spectrum: A Collaborative Study 
Annals of epidemiology  2013;23(3):106-111.
To determine if the associations among established risk factors and reduced kidney function vary by age.
We pooled cross-sectional data from 14,788 non-diabetics aged 40–100 years in 4 studies: Cardiovascular Health Study, Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, and Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease cohort.
Hypertension and low HDL-cholesterol were associated with reduced cystatin C-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) across the age spectrum. In adjusted analyses, hypertension was associated with a 2.3 (95% CI 0.1, 4.4), 5.1 (4.1, 6.1), and 6.9 (3.0, 10.4) mL/min/1.73 m2 lower eGFR in participants 40–59, 60–79, and 80+ years, respectively (p-value for interaction <0.001). The association of low HDL-cholesterol with reduced kidney function was also greater in the older age groups: 4.9 (3.5, 6.3), 7.1 (CI 6.0, 8.3), 8.9 (CI 5.4, 11.9) mL/min/1.73 m2 (p-value for interaction <0.001). Smoking and obesity were associated with reduced kidney function in participants under 80 years. All estimates of the potential population impact of the risk factors were modest.
Hypertension, obesity, smoking, and low HDL-cholesterol are modestly associated with reduced kidney function in non-diabetics. The associations of hypertension and HDL-cholesterol with reduced kidney function appear stronger in older adults.
PMCID: PMC3570601  PMID: 23313266
Chronic kidney insufficiency; aged; hypertension; cholesterol; obesity; smoking
17.  Kidney Function and Mortality in Octogenarians: Cardiovascular Health Study All Stars 
To examine the association between kidney function and all-cause mortality in octogenarians.
Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data.
Serum creatinine and cystatin C were measured in 1,053 Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) All Stars participants.
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was determined using the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration creatinine (eGFRCR) and cystatin C one-variable (eGFRCYS) equations. The association between quintiles of kidney function and all-cause mortality was analyzed using unadjusted and adjusted Cox proportional hazards models.
Mean age of the participants was 85, 64% were female, 66% had hypertension, 14% had diabetes mellitus, and 39% had prevalent cardiovascular disease. There were 154 deaths over a median follow-up of 2.6 years. The association between eGFRCR and all-cause mortality was U-shaped. In comparison with the reference quintile (64–75 mL/min per 1.73 m2), the highest (≥75 mL/min per 1.73 m2) and lowest (≤43 mL/min per 1.73 m2) quintiles of eGFRCR were independently associated with mortality (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.36–4.55; HR = 2.28, 95% CI = 1.26–4.10, respectively). The association between eGFRCYS and all-cause mortality was linear in those with eGFRCYS of less than 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2, and in the multivariate analyses, the lowest quintile of eGFRCYS (<52 mL/min per 1.73 m2) was significantly associated with mortality (HR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.12–3.71) compared with the highest quintile (>0.88 mL/min per 1.73 m2).
Moderate reduction in kidney function is a risk factor for all-cause mortality in octogenarians. The association between eGFRCR and all-cause mortality differed from that observed with eGFRCYS; the relationship was U-shaped for eGFRCR, whereas the risk was primarily present in the lowest quintile for eGFRCYS. J Am Geriatr Soc 2012.
PMCID: PMC3902776  PMID: 22724391
octogenarians; kidney function; mortality
18.  Apolipoprotein E and kidney function in older adults 
Clinical nephrology  2012;78(3):174-180.
Previous studies suggest that the ε4 and ε2 alleles of apolipoprotein E (APOE) may be associated with decreased and increased risks of CKD, respectively, but there are limited data in older adults. We evaluated the associations of apolipoprotein E alleles with kidney function among older adults in the cardiovascular health study (CHS).
Caucasian participants had APOE allelic analysis and serum creatinine and cystatin C measured at baseline (n = 3,844 for cross sectional analysis) and in follow up (n = 3,226 for longitudinal analysis). APOE variation was evaluated as an additive model with number of ε2, ε3 and ε4 alleles. GFR was estimated using the CKD epidemiology equation (eGFRcreat) and the cystatin C demographic equation (eGFRcys). The primary outcome was CKD defined by eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2. The secondary outcome was rapid progression defined by annual loss of eGFR > 3 ml/min/1.73 m2.
Mean eGFRcreat was 72 ml/min/1.73 m2 (25% CKD). Compared with the ε3 allele, the APOE ε4 allele was associated with reduced risk of CKD by eGFRcreat: unadjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79 (0.67 – 0.93) per allele, fully adjusted OR (95% CI) 0.80 (0.68 – 0.96) per allele. Results were consistent using eGFRcys. There was no association of the ε2 allele with CKD or between the apolipoprotein E gene with rapid progression.
The apolipoprotein ε4 allele was associated with lower odds of CKD in elderly Caucasian individuals. Future research should confirm these findings in other races and explore mechanisms to explain these results.
PMCID: PMC3874583  PMID: 22874105
apolipoprotein E; chronic kidney disease; kidney function; elderly
19.  Chronic kidney disease and cardiac remodelling in patients with mild heart failure: results from the REsynchronization reVErses Remodeling in Systolic Left vEntricular Dysfunction (REVERSE) study 
European Journal of Heart Failure  2012;14(12):1420-1428.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a risk factor for left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and heart failure. We evaluated the effect of CKD on left ventricular (LV) remodelling among patients with mild heart failure.
Methods and results
REVERSE was a randomized, controlled trial evaluating cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) in patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class I/II heart failure. CKD was defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m2. We compared changes in LV function and size over the course of 12 months by CKD status using linear mixed models adjusted for demographics, co-morbidities, medications, cardiomyopathy aetiology, and CRT status. Finally, we evaluated the effect of CKD on cardiac remodelling among patients randomized to CRT on or off. CKD was associated with worsening LV function and dilation compared with the non-CKD group {adjusted, 12-month β coefficients for the CKD group compared with the non-CKD referent group: LV ejection fraction (%) [–1.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) –3.36 to –0.24], LV end-systolic volume (mL) (14.16, 95% CI 3.96–24.36), LV end-diastolic volume (mL) (14.88, 95% CI 2.88–26.76), LV end-systolic diameter (cm) (0.36, 95% CI 0.12–0.48), LV end-diastolic diameter (cm) (0.24, 95% CI 0.012–0.36), mitral regurgitation (%) (3.12, 95% CI 0.48–5.76), and LV shape (0.036, 95% CI 0.012–0.060)}. In participants assigned to CRT, those without CKD had significantly greater improvements in LV structural parameters compared with the CKD group.
In comparison with participants with normal kidney function, CKD is an independent risk factor for ventricular dysfunction and dilation. CRT improves LV function and structure to a lesser extent in patients with CKD than in those with normal kidney function.
PMCID: PMC3506959  PMID: 22956574
Chronic kidney disease; Heart failure; Cardiac resynchronization therapy
20.  Associations of Urinary Levels of Kidney Injury Molecule-1 (KIM-1) and Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) With Kidney Function Decline in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Whether elevations of urinary biomarkers of tubular injury (urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and kidney injury molecule 1 (KIM-1)) are associated with future risk of kidney disease has not been investigated.
Study Design
1:1 nested case-control study
Setting & Participants
686 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
NGAL and KIM-1 were measured at baseline and expressed as log-transformed continuous variables and categorized into deciles.
Kidney function was estimated by cystatin C using the CKD-EPI (Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration) equation. Incident CKD Stage 3 was defined as eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73m2 and a eGFR decline >1 ml/min/1.73m2 per year, and rapid kidney function decline (RKFD) was defined as decline of ≥3 ml/min/1.73m2 per year.
Cases were defined as persons with eGFR >60 ml/min/1.73m2 who subsequently developed incident CKD Stage 3 and/or had RKFD by MESA year 5 visit. Controls were matched for age, gender, race, diabetes, and baseline eGFR. We adjusted for age, hypertension and presence of albuminuria (ACR ≥30 mg/g).
Of the 343 cases, 145 had incident CKD Stage 3, 141 had RKFD and 57 had both. Mean eGFR for controls was 81 (±10) ml/min/1.73m2 at baseline and 80 (±10) at follow-up, compared with 82 (±13) and 58 (±10) for cases. Each doubling of KIM-1 (pg/ml) was associated with an OR of 1.15 (95% CI, 1.02-1.29) for incident CKD Stage 3 and/or RKFD. Compared to the lowest 90%, the highest decile of KIM-1 was associated with an OR of 2.02 (95% CI, 1.15-3.56) for the outcome; these associations were independent of albuminuria. NGAL levels (ng/ml) were not associated with incident CKD Stage 3 and/or RKFD (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.99-1.10). Results were similar when KIM-1 and NGAL were standardized for urine creatinine.
The case-control design limits ability to account for persons who died or were not available for follow-up.
Urinary KIM-1 is associated with future risk of kidney disease independent of albuminuria. Urinary biomarkers of tubular injury are a promising tool for identifying persons at risk for CKD.
PMCID: PMC3690926  PMID: 22749388
KIM-1; NGAL; kidney function decline
21.  Relationships Between Serum and Urine Phosphorus with All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality: the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study 
Serum phosphorus is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general population but may not comprehensively reflect phosphorus homeostasis. Whether urine phosphorus/creatinine ratio (UPi/UCr, a marker of intestinal absorption) or urine fractional excretion of phosphorus (FePi, a marker of urinary phosphorus handling) is associated with risk of mortality or CVD is uncertain.
Study Design
Prospective observational study.
Setting and Participants
1,325 community-dwelling men aged ≥65 years.
Serum phosphorus, UPi/UCr, and FePi.
All-cause and CVD death.
Mean age was 74±6 years, eGFR was 75±16 ml/min/1.73m2, and serum phosphorus was 3.2±0.4 mg/dL. During 9.3 years median follow-up, there were 364 deaths (120 CVD deaths). After adjustment for demographics, CVD risk factors, and kidney function, the risks of all-cause death in the highest quartiles of serum phosphorus (≥3.6 mg/dL), UPi/UCr, and FePi were 1.63 (95% CI 1.23-2.17), 1.22 (95% CI 0.90-1.65), and 0.88 (95% CI 0.64-1.23), respectively. Results were similar for CVD death. Results were also similar irrespective of eGFR above or below 60 ml/min/1.73m2.
Older, all male cohort. Few had advanced CKD. Specimens were collected in the morning after an overnight fast.
In community-living older men, higher serum phosphorus is associated with all-cause and CVD death. In contrast, UPi/UCr and FePi were not. These findings do not support using UPi/UCr or FePi as adjuvant measures to predict risk of mortality or CVD in the general population.
PMCID: PMC3815620  PMID: 23261120
Phosphorus; urine phosphorus; mortality; cardiovascular disease; kidney disease; geriatrics
22.  Associations of Socioeconomic Status and Processed Food Intake with Serum Phosphorus in Community-Living Adults: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Higher serum phosphorus concentrations are associated with cardiovascular disease events and mortality. Low socioeconomic status is linked with higher serum phosphorus, but the reasons are unclear. Poor individuals disproportionately consume inexpensive processed foods commonly enriched with phosphorus-based food preservatives. Accordingly, we hypothesized that excess intake of these foods accounts for a relationship between lower socioeconomic status and higher serum phosphorus.
Cross-sectional analysis.
Setting and Participants
We examined a random cohort of 2,664 participants with available phosphorus measurements in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a community-based sample of individuals free of clinically apparent cardiovascular disease from across the United States.
Predictor Variables
Socioeconomic status, the intake of foods commonly enriched with phosphorus additives (processed meats, sodas) and frequency of fast food consumption.
Fasting morning serum phosphorus concentrations.
In unadjusted analyses, lower income and lower educational achievement categories were associated with modestly higher serum phosphorus (by 0.02 to 0.10 mg/dL, P < 0.05 for all). These associations were attenuated in models adjusted for demographic and clinical factors, almost entirely due to adjustment for female gender. There were no statistically significant associations of processed meat intake or frequency of fast-food consumption with serum phosphorus in multivariable-adjusted analyses. In contrast, each serving per day higher soda intake was associated with 0.02 mg/dl lower serum phosphorus (95% confidence interval, −0.04, −0.01).
Greater intake of foods commonly enriched with phosphorus additives was not associated with higher serum phosphorus in a community-living sample with largely preserved kidney function. These results suggest that excess intake of processed and fast foods may not impact fasting serum phosphorus concentrations among individuals without kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3321388  PMID: 22217539
phosphorus; socioeconomic status; nutrition
23.  Inflammation and Coagulation Markers and Kidney Function Decline: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
The strength and direction of the associations between inflammation and coagulation biomarkers with kidney disease onset and progression remains unclear, especially in a population-based setting.
Study Design
Prospective observational study.
Setting & Participants
4,966 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) with a cystatin C-based estimate of glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcys) > 60 ml/min/1.73m2 and least one follow-up measure of kidney function. All participants were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) at entry.
We evaluated the associations of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), fibrinogen, factor VIII, and D-dimer with kidney function decline.
Outcomes and Measurements
Kidney function decline was assessed primarily by repeated measures of eGFRcys over 5 years. Rapid decline of kidney function was defined as an eGFR decrease of more than 3 ml/min/1.73m2 per year. Incident low eGFR was defined as the onset of eGFRcys<60 ml/min/1.73m2 at any follow up exam and eGFRcys decline ≥1 ml/min/1.73m2 per year.
Mean age was 60 years, 39% were white, 52% were women, and 11% had diabetes. Mean eGFRcys was 96 mL/min/1.73 m2 and 7% had albuminuria. Median follow up time was 4.77 years. Higher Factor VIII levels (per 1-standard deviation [SD] of biomarker) had the strongest association with kidney function decline (β= −0.25; 95% CI, −0.38 to −0.12; p<0.001), followed by IL-6 (β= −0.16; 95% CI, −0.29 to −0.03; p=0.01), CRP (β= −0.09; 95% CI, −0.22 to 0.03; p=0.1), and fibrinogen (β= −0.09; 95% CI, −0.22 to 0.04; p=0.2). Each 1-SD higher concentration of IL-6 (OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.07–1.23), Factor VIII (OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.03–1.18), and CRP (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.02–1.16) at baseline was significantly associated with rapid kidney function decline. Only IL-6 was significantly associated with incident low eGFR (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.00–1.19).
Observational study design and absence of measured GFR.
Inflammation and coagulation biomarkers are associated with declining kidney function in ambulatory adults without established CVD or CKD.
PMCID: PMC3745301  PMID: 22560844
24.  Fibroblast Growth Factor-23 and Death, Heart Failure, and Cardiovascular Events in Community-Living Individuals: the Cardiovascular Health Study 
To determine the associations of FGF23 with death, HF, and CVD and investigate the influence of CKD in a general community-living population.
FGF23 increases renal phosphorus excretion and inhibits vitamin D activation. In ESRD, high FGF23 levels are associated with mortality. The associations of FGF23 with death, heart failure (HF), and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in teh general population are unknown.
Plasma FGF23 was measured in 3,107 community-living persons ≥ 65 years in 1996–97, and participants were followed through 2008. HF and CVD events were adjudicated by a panel of experts. Associations of FGF23 with each outcome were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models, and we tested whether associations differed by CKD status.
Both lower eGFR and higher urine ACR were associated with high FGF23 at baseline. During 10.5 years (median) follow-up, there were 1,730 deaths, 697 incident HF events, and 797 incident CVD events. Although high FGF23 concentrations were associated with each outcome in combined analyses, the associations were consistently stronger for those with CKD (P interactions all < 0.006). In the CKD group (n=1,128), the highest FGF23 quartile had adjusted hazards ratios (HR) of 1.87 (1.47, 2.38) for all-cause death, 1.94 (1.32, 2.83) for incident HF, and 1.49 (1.02, 2.18) for incident CVD events compared to the lowest quartile. Corresponding HRs in those without CKD (n=1,979) were 1.29 (1.05, 1.59), 1.37 (0.99, 1.89), and 1.07 (0.79, 1.45).
FGF23, a hormone involved in phosphorous and vitamin D homeostasis, is independently associated with all-cause death and incident HF in community-living older persons. These associations appear stronger in persons with CKD.
PMCID: PMC3396791  PMID: 22703926
Fibroblast growth factor-23; kidney disease; mineral metabolism; cardiovascular disease; heart failure; elderly
25.  Computed Tomography Scans in the Evaluation of Fatty Liver Disease in a Population Based Study: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Academic Radiology  2012;19(7):811-818.
Rationale and Objectives
Fatty liver disease is a common clinical entity in hepatology practice. This study evaluates the prevalence and reproducibility of computed tomography (CT) measures for diagnosis of fatty liver and compares commonly used CT criteria for the diagnosis of liver fat.
Materials and Methods
The study includes 6,814 asymptomatic participants from a population based sample. The ratio of liver-to-spleen (L/S) Hounsfield units (HU) <1.0 and liver attenuation <40HU were utilized for diagnosing and assessing the severity of liver fat content. Participants with heavy alcohol intake (>7 drinks/week for women and >14 drinks/week for men) were excluded. Final analysis was performed on participants where images of both liver and spleen were available on the scans.
The overall prevalence of fatty liver (4,175 patients) was 17.2% (using L/S ratio <1.0), with 6.3% (with <40HU cutoff) of the population having moderate to severe steatosis (>30% liver fat content). The prevalence was high in participants with dyslipidemia (70.4%), hypertension (56.8%) and obesity (53%). Diabetic patients had 24.1% prevalence of fatty liver. The prevalence provided by L/S ratio <1.0 (17.2%) was comparable to prevalence provided by <51 HU (17.3%), whereas prevalence obtained by <40HU (6.3%) cutoff corresponded to L/S ratio of <0.8 (6.5%). The measurements of liver and spleen HU attenuations were highly reproducible (0.96, 0.99 and 0.99, 0.99 for intra- and inter-reader variability, respectively) in a sample of 100 scans.
Fatty liver can be reliably diagnosed using non-enhanced CT scans.
PMCID: PMC3377794  PMID: 22521729
Computed Tomography; Fatty Liver; MESA

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