Retinal vessels may provide a readily accessible surrogate approach to study vascular disease in brain small vessels. Previous epidemiologic studies of retinal microvascular abnormalities and cognition have not included large numbers of Latinos who have a high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension.
We used data from 809 elderly Latino participants in the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) to assess whether retinal vessel caliber and microvascular abnormalities are cross-sectionally associated with lower cognitive function. Cognitive screening was conducted with the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument-Short form (CASI-S) and in-depth testing with the Spanish English Neuropsychological Assessment Scales (SENAS). Retinal photographs were used to identify retinopathy signs and measure retinal vessel caliber.
A total of 65.8% had high blood pressure, 34.5% had diabetes; self-reported diagnoses of heart attack, heart failure, angina and stroke were rare. Retinal calibers and any retinopathy were not associated with the CASI-S, total SENAS or any SENAS cognitive factors assessed as continuous variables. The odds of a low CASI-S score were two times higher in subjects with generalized arteriolar narrowing (OR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.14, 3.66), and one and half times as high in those with both generalized arteriolar narrowing and retinopathy signs (OR = 1.49, 95% CI = 0.47, 4.75) though this result was based on only four cases with both risk factors and confidence limits were wide and included the null.
Retinal microvasculature imaging may provide insights into small blood vessel influences on cognition in Latino populations. Additional studies in diverse populations and prospective settings are needed.
Epidemiology; Cognition; Retina; Latinos; Microvasculature
Depression is common in people with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and those with HIV, and is a risk factor for CVD-related mortality. However, little is known about whether HIV influences the relationship between depression and cardiovascular risk. 526 HIV-infected and 132 uninfected women from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study were included in an analysis of women who completed twice-yearly study visits over 9.5 years. CVD risk was calculated at baseline and approximately 9.5 years later using the Framingham Risk Score (FRS). Chronic depressive symptoms were defined as Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale scores of 16 or greater at ≥75% of study visits. Over the follow-up period, 22.8% of HIV-infected women and 15.9% of HIV-uninfected women had chronic depressive symptoms (p=0.08). Baseline FRS were similar between HIV infected and uninfected women (M=−5.70±SE=0.30 vs. M=−6.90± SE=0.60, p=0.07) as was follow-up FRS (M=0.82±SE=0.30 vs. M=−0.44± SE=0.73, p=0.11). Among HIV-infected and uninfected women, together, follow-up FRS were higher among women with chronic depressive symptoms as compared to those without (M=1.3± SE=0.6 vs. M=−0.3± SE=0.40, p<0.01), after adjusting for baseline FRS and other covariates. HIV status did not modify the relationship between chronic depressive symptoms and FRS. Chronic depressive symptoms accelerated CVD risk scores to a similar extent in both HIV infected and uninfected women. This implies that the diagnosis and treatment of depression may be an important consideration in CV risk reduction in the setting of HIV-infection. The determination of factors that mediate the depression/CVD relationship merits further study.
White matter hyperintensities (WMH) and silent brain infarcts (SBI) have been associated with both vascular factors and cognitive decline. We examined among cognitively normal elderly, whether vascular factors predict cognitive decline and whether these associations are mediated by MRI measures of subclinical vascular brain injury.
Prospective multi-site longitudinal study of subcortical ischemic vascular diseases
Memory and aging centers in California
We studied 74 participants who were cognitively normal at entry and received at least 2 neuropsychological evaluations and 2 MRI exams over an average follow-up of 6.9 years.
Item response theory was used to create composite scores of global, verbal memory, and executive functioning. Volumetric MRI measures included WMH, SBI, hippocampus, and cortical gray matter (CGM). We used linear mixed effects models to examine the associations between vascular factors, MRI measures, and cognitive scores.
History of coronary artery disease (CAD) was associated with greater declines in global, verbal memory, and executive cognition. The CAD associations remained after controlling for changes in WMH, SBI, hippocampal and CGM volumes.
History of CAD may be a surrogate marker for clinically significant atherosclerosis which also affects the brain. Structural MRI measures of WMH and SBI do not fully capture the potential adverse effects of atherosclerosis on the brain. Future longitudinal studies of cognition should incorporate direct measures of atherosclerosis in cerebral arteries, as well as more sensitive neuroimaging measures.
cognitively normal elderly; coronary artery disease; cognitive decline; MRI
Millions of women in the United States and across the globe abruptly discontinued postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) after the initial Women’s Health Initiative trial publication. Few data describing the effects of HT cessation on hip fracture incidence in the general population are available. We evaluated the impact of HT cessation on hip fracture incidence in a large cohort from the Southern California Kaiser Permanente health management organization.
In this longitudinal observational study, 80,955 postmenopausal women using HT as of July 2002 were followed up through December 2008. Data on HT use after July 2002, antiosteoporotic medication use, and occurrence of hip fracture were collected from the electronic medical record system. Bone mineral density (BMD) was assessed in 54,209 women once during the study period using the dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan.
After 6.5 years of follow-up, age- and race-adjusted Cox proportional hazard models showed that women who discontinued HT were at 55% greater risk of hip fracture compared with those who continued using HT (hazard ratio, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.36–1.77). Hip fracture risk increased as early as 2 years after cessation of HT (hazard ratio, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.26–1.84), and the risk incrementally increased with longer duration of cessation (P for trend < 0.0001). Longer duration of HT cessation was linearly correlated with lower BMD (β estimate [SE]) = −0.13 [0.003] T-score SD unit per year of HT cessation; P < 0.0001).
Women who discontinued postmenopausal HT had significantly increased risk of hip fracture and lower BMD compared with women who continued taking HT. The protective association of HT with hip fracture disappeared within 2 years of cessation of HT. These results have public health implications with regard to morbidity and mortality from hip fracture.
Hormone therapy; Hip fracture; Bone mineral density; Women’s Health Initiative
Despite use of HAART, cognitive impairment remains prevalent in HIV. Indeed, a recent study suggested that in certain instances, stopping HAART was associated with improved cognitive function (Robertson et al. 2010). HAART is occasionally associated with cardiovascular pathology and such pathology may be associated with cognitive impairment. To explore these associations, we assessed the relative contributions of cardiovascular variables such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, of HIV and HAART to cognition. Participants were members of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). In analysis of cross-sectional data using general linear models we assessed the relationship between each cardiovascular variable and Stroop interference time and symbol digit modalities test while adjusting for age, HIV, education, depression, and race/ethnicity. We also analyzed the association of summary measures of HAART use with cognition. In multivariate models significance was limited to carotid lesions and carotid intima-medial thickness quintile (CIMT) with Stroop interference time (for carotid lesions, coefficient = 10.5, CI: 3.5 to 17.5, p = 0.003, N = 1130; for CIMT quintile, coefficient = 8.6, CI = 1.7 to 15.4, p = 0.025, N = 1130). Summary measures of protease inhibitor use and other HAART measures were in most cases not associated with cognitive score in multivariate models. We conclude that in the HAART era among middle-aged women with HIV, carotid disease may be significantly associated with some measures of cognitive impairment. In this cross-sectional study, we could detect neither positive nor negative effects of HAART on cognition.
Cognition; HIV; Women; Hypertension; Atherosclerosis; Middle-Aged
Coinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is common among HIV-infected women.
To further our understanding of the risk factors for HCV viremia and the predictors of HCV viral load among women.
We investigated sociodemographic, immunologic, and virologic factors associated with presence and level of HCV viremia among 882 HIV-infected and 167 HIV-uninfected HCV-seropositive women at entry into the Women's Interagency HIV Study.
Plasma HCV RNA was detected in 852 (81%) of these 1,049 women (range: 1.2–7.8 log10 copies/ml). HCV-viremic women were more likely to have an HIV RNA level >100,000 copies/ml (P =0.0004), have reported smoking (P =0.01), or to be Black (P =0.005). They were less likely to have current or resolved hepatitis B infection. HCV RNA levels were higher in women who were >35 years old, or HIV-infected. Current smoking and history of drug use (crack/freebase cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, or heroin) were each associated with both presence and level of viremia.
Substance abuse counseling aimed at eliminating ongoing use of illicit drugs and tobacco may reduce clinical progression, improve response to treatment, and decrease HCV transmission by lowering levels of HCV viremia in women.
Hepatitis C; Hepatitis C RNA levels; Hepatitis C viremia; HIV/hepatitis C virus coinfection
Background and Purpose
Although epidemiological and experimental studies suggest that dietary intake of soy may be cardioprotective, use of isoflavone soy protein (ISP) supplementation as a primary preventive therapy remains unexplored. We determined whether ISP reduces subclinical atherosclerosis assessed as carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) progression.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 350 postmenopausal women 45–92 years of age without diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) were randomized to 2 evenly divided daily doses of 25 g soy protein containing 91 mg aglycon isoflavone equivalents or placebo for 2.7-years.
Overall, mean (95% confidence interval) CIMT progression rate was 4.77(3.39–6.16) μm/year in the ISP group and 5.68(4.30–7.06) μm/year in the placebo group. Although CIMT progression was reduced on average by 16% in the ISP group relative to the placebo group, this treatment effect was not statistically significant (p=0.36). Among the subgroup of women who were randomized within 5 years of menopause, ISP participants had on average a 68% lower CIMT progression rate than placebo participants 2.16(−1.10–5.43) vs. 6.79(3.56–10.01) μm/year, p=0.05). ISP supplementation had a null effect on women who were >5 years beyond menopause when randomized. There were no major adverse events from ISP supplementation.
ISP supplementation did not significantly reduce subclinical atherosclerosis progression in postmenopausal women. Subgroup analysis suggest that ISP supplementation may reduce subclinical atherosclerosis in healthy young (median age, 53 years) women at low-risk for CVD who were <5 years postmenopausal. These first trial results of their kind warrant further investigation.
Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Intima-media thickness; Isoflavones; Menopause; Soy; Women
Carotid artery intima-media thickness progression is associated with human immunodeficiency virus replication as well as with exposure to certain antiretroviral therapy regimens.
Background. Persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are at risk for premature cardiovascular disease (CVD). Predictors of atherosclerotic disease progression in contemporary patients have not been well described.
Methods. Using data from a prospective observational cohort of adults infected with HIV (Study to Understand the Natural History of HIV/AIDS in the Era of Effective Therapy), we assessed common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) at baseline and year 2 by ultrasound. We examined HIV-associated predictors of CIMT progression after adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, and baseline CIMT using linear regression.
Results. Among 389 participants (median age at baseline, 42 years; male sex, 77%; median CD4+ cell count at baseline, 485 cells/mm3; 78% receiving antiretroviral therapy), the median 2-year CIMT change was 0.016 mm (interquartile range, −0.003 to 0.033 mm; P < .001). Lesser CIMT progression was associated with a suppressed viral load at baseline (−0.009 mm change; P = .015) and remaining virologically suppressed throughout follow-up (−0.011 mm change; P < .001). After adjusting for additional risk factors and a suppressed viral load during follow-up, nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor versus protease inhibitor exposure was associated with lesser CIMT progression (−0.011 mm change; P = .02).
Conclusions. Suppressing HIV replication below clinical thresholds was associated with less progression of atherosclerosis. The proatherogenic mechanisms of HIV replication and the net CVD benefit of different antiretroviral drugs should be a focus of future research.
Postmenopausal changes in the hormonal milieu in women with or without hormone therapy (HT) are hypothesized to be the pathway for a number of menopause-associated modifications in physiology and disease risk. Physical activity may modify these changes in women’s hormone profiles. The crucial yet complex relationship between physical activity and physiologic and pharmacologic sex hormone levels in postmenopausal women has not been investigated sufficiently.
Using structured recall, physical activity was assessed longitudinally over two years in 194 postmenopausal women (90 randomized to daily 1 mg 17β-estradiol and 104 to placebo) in the Estrogen in the Prevention of Atherosclerosis Trial. Levels of physical activity were correlated to serum sex hormone and serum hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in each treatment group.
In placebo-treated women, total energy expenditure was positively associated with sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) (p<0.001) and inversely associated with testosterones (total, bioavailable, free) and androstenedione (p<0.001 for all), as well as with estradiol (p=0.02). In estradiol-treated women, estradiol levels were inversely associated with total energy expenditure (p=0.002) and weekly hours spent in moderate or more vigorous physical activity (p=0.001).
Physical activity is associated with lower serum levels of estradiol in both HT-treated and untreated women. In placebo-treated women only, physical activity is associated with reduced androgen levels and elevated SHBG levels.
Physical activity; sex hormones; estradiol; menopause
Racial/ethnic differences in common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) and in risk factors associated with CIMT have been predominantly observed in middle-aged and older individuals. We aimed to characterize racial/ethnic differences CIMT and other cardiovascular risk factors in a healthy, young-adult population.
College students were recruited as part of a study to characterize determinants of atherogenesis. Students were eligible if they were lifetime non-smokers, lived in the United States since six months of age, and attended high school in the United States. Blood pressure, heart rate, height, and weight were measured, B-mode carotid ultrasound was performed, questionnaires were administered and a 12-hr fasting blood sample was collected. Associations between CIMT and other variables were assessed in 768 students aged 18 to 25 years using linear regression analysis.
In models adjusted for common cardiovascular risk factors, sex exhibited the strongest influence on CIMT, with men having 15.4 µm larger CIMT compared to women (95%CI 6.6, 24.2). Race/ethnicity was also strongly associated with CIMT. African Americans had 17.3 µm greater CIMT (95% CI −0.3, 34.8) compared to non Hispanic Whites, whereas Asians and Hispanic Whites had 14.3 (95%CI −24.3, −4.4) and 15.4 (95%CI −26.2, −4.7) µm smaller CIMT, respectively. BMI and systolic blood pressure were positively associated with CIMT.
The risk factors associated with atherogenesis later in life are already present and observable in college-aged young adults, so targeted campaigns to reduce life-long cardiovascular disease burden should be initiated earlier in life to improve public health.
CIMT; SBP; race; ethnicity; young adults
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment Chinese-Language Los Angeles version (MoCA-ChLA) was developed and administered during an in-home interview to 1,192 participants (mean age 62.5 years, mean education 11.6 years) in a population-based Chinese American Eye Study (CHES) in Los Angeles. The MoCA-ChLA score (mean ± SD) was 23.8 ± 4.2 with little ceiling and no floor effects. The score increased with higher education, decreased with advancing age, and was not related to gender. Compared to the education 1–6 years group, the mean MoCA-ChLA score was 2.6 and 4.6 higher in the education 7–11 and 12–20 years groups, respectively. The Mandarin- (n = 612) and Cantonese- (n = 612) speaking subgroups performed comparably; Cronbach's alpha of the MoCA-ChLA score was 0.78 and 0.79 for these two groups, respectively. Item response theory analysis showed good discriminating power for executive function and memory. These properties support the MoCA-ChLA as a useful screening tool for aging and dementia studies for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers.
Recent epidemiologic studies have noted that risk factors for atherosclerosis (for example, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia) are associated with increased risk of incident Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this evidence-based review, we frame the proposition as a question: are vascular risk factors also risk factors for plaques and tangles or just for concomitant vascular pathology that increases the likelihood of dementia? To date, no representative, prospective studies with autopsy (evidence level A) show significant positive associations between diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or intracranial atherosclerosis and plaques or tangles. Some prospective, representative, epidemiologic studies (evidence level B) show associations between diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and aggregated risk factors with clinically diagnosed incident AD. However, the strength of association diminishes in the following order: vascular dementia (VaD) > AD + VaD > AD. This pattern is arguably more consistent with the hypothesis that atherosclerosis promotes subclinical vascular brain injury, thereby increasing the likelihood of dementia and in some cases making symptoms present earlier. Several autopsy studies from AD brain banks (evidence level C) have observed positive associations between intracranial atherosclerosis and severity of plaques and tangles. However, these studies may reflect selection bias; these associations are not confirmed when cases are drawn from non-dementia settings. We conclude that, at the present time, there is no consistent body of evidence to show that vascular risk factors increase AD pathology.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been reported to replicate in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), particularly in patients coinfected with HCV and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, there are limited data regarding the prevalence of and the factors associated with extrahepatic replication.
The presence of negative-strand HCV RNA in PBMCs was evaluated by a strand-specific assay for 144 anti-HCV–positive/HIV-infected women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. One to 5 PBMC samples obtained from each woman were tested. Multivariate analyses were used to assess for associations with the clinical and demographic characteristics of the women.
Negative-strand HCV RNA was detected in 78 (25%) of 315 specimens, and, for 61 women (42%), ≥1 specimen was found to have positive results. The presence of negative-strand HCV RNA in PBMCs was significantly positively associated with an HCV RNA plasma level of ≥6.75 log copies/mL (P =.04) and consumption of ≥7 alcoholic drinks per week (P =.02). It was also negatively associated with injection drug use occurring in the past 6 months (P =.03). A negative association with a CD4+CD38+DR+ cell percentage of >10% and a positive association with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome were borderline significant (P =.05).
HCV replication in PBMCs is common among HIV-coinfected women and appears to be a dynamic process related to lifestyle, virologic, and immunologic factors.
The impact of the atypical antipsychotics, olanzapine, quetiapine and risperidone on cognition in patients with Alzheimer’s disease is unclear. This report describes the effects of time and treatment on neuropsychological function during the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness Alzheimer’s disease study (CATIE-AD).
CATIE-AD included 421 Alzheimer’s disease outpatients with psychosis or agitated/aggressive behavior, randomized to masked, flexible-dose olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone or placebo. Based on clinician’s judgment, patients could discontinue originally assigned medication and be randomized to another medication. They were followed for 36 weeks. Cognitive assessments were obtained at baseline, 12 weeks, 24 weeks and 36 weeks. Outcomes were compared among 357 patients with baseline and at least one follow-up cognitive measure obtained while on their prescribed medication or placebo for at least 2 weeks before cognitive testing.
Overall, patients showed steady, significant declines over time in most cognitive areas, including Mini-mental State Examination (2.4 points over 36 weeks) and Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-cog (4.4 points). Patients on antipsychotics declined more than patients on placebo on multiple cognitive measures, including the MMSE (p=0.004), BPRS cognitive subscale (p=0.05), and a cognitive summary score summarizing change on 18 cognitive tests (p=0.004).
In CATIE-AD atypical antipsychotics were associated with worsening cognitive function at a magnitude consistent with one year’s deterioration compared with placebo. Further cognitive impairment is an additional risk of atypical antipsychotic treatment for Alzheimer’s disease patients that should be considered when considering treatment.
The totality of data indicate that the “window of opportunity” for reducing coronary heart disease (CHD) and overall mortality is initiation of hormone therapy (HT) within 6 years of menopause and/or before 60 years of age. Reduction of CHD risk and overall mortality with prolonged HT use in this subgroup of women is consistent across randomized controlled trials and observational studies. As such, HT use for 5 to 30 years in postmenopausal women who initiate HT in their 50s substantially increases quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) by 1.5 QALYs and is highly cost-effective at $2,438 per QALY gained. Cumulated randomized controlled trial results indicate a consistency along with observational data that young postmenopausal women with menopausal symptoms who use HT for long periods of time have lower rates of CHD and overall mortality than comparable postmenopausal women who do not use HT.
This study investigated the impact of chronic exposure to continuous (CoP4) versus cyclic progesterone (CyP4) alone or in combination with 17β-estradiol (E2) on gene expression profiles targeting bioenergetics, metabolism and inflammation in the adult female rat hippocampus. High-throughput qRT-PCR analyses revealed that ovarian hormonal depletion induced by ovariectomy (OVX) led to multiple significant gene expression alterations, which were to a great extent reversed by co-administration of E2 and CyP4. In contrast, co-administration of E2 and CoP4 induced a pattern highly resembling OVX. Bioinformatics analyses further revealed clear disparities in functional profiles associated with E2+CoP4 and E2+CyP4. Genes involved in mitochondrial energy (ATP synthase α subunit; Atp5a1), redox homeostasis (peroxiredoxin 5; Prdx5), insulin signaling (insulin-like growth factor I; Igf1), and cholesterol trafficking (liver X receptor α subtype; Nr1h3), differed in direction of regulation by E2+CoP4 (down-regulation relative to OVX) and E2+CyP4 (up-regulation relative to OVX). In contrast, genes involved in amyloid metabolism (β-secretase; Bace1) differed only in degree of regulation, as both E2+CoP4 and E2+CyP4 induced down-regulation at different efficacy. E2+CyP4-induced changes could be associated with regulation of progesterone receptor membrane component 1(Pgrmc1). In summary, results from this study provide evidence at the molecular level that differing regimens of hormone therapy (HT) can induce disparate gene expression profiles in brain. From a translational perspective, confirmation of these results in a model of natural menopause, would imply that the common regimen of continuous combined HT may have adverse consequences whereas a cyclic combined regimen, which is more physiological, could be an effective strategy to maintain neurological health and function throughout menopausal aging.
Background and purpose
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may have an increased risk for cardiovascular-related events, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. We tested the hypothesis that carotid arterial stiffness was higher among persons taking HAART compared to HAART-naïve and HIV-uninfected persons.
Between 2004 and 2006, we performed high resolution B-mode ultrasound on 2,789 HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected participants of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS; 1865 women) and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS; 924 men) and determined carotid arterial distensibility, a direct measure of carotid arterial stiffness. We used generalized estimating equations to evaluate the association between distensibility and HIV infection, CD4+ cell count, and exposure to HAART adjusted for demographic, behavioral, and clinical characteristics.
In multivariable analysis, distensibility was 4.3% lower (95% confidence interval (CI): -7.4% to -1.1%) among HIV-infected versus uninfected participants. Among HIV-infected participants with fewer than 200 CD4+ cells, distensibility was 10.5% lower (95% CI: -14.5% to -6.2%) than that among HIV-uninfected participants, and this effect did not differ significantly by cohort or race. Concurrent HAART use was independently associated with lower distensibility among MACS participants but not among WIHS participants.
Our finding that advanced HIV-related immunosuppression was associated with increased carotid arterial stiffness independent from the effects of traditional atherosclerosis risk factors suggests that the etiologic mechanism underlying reports of an increased cardiovascular disease risk among HIV-infected individuals might involve HIV-related immunosuppression leading to vascular dysfunction and arterial stiffening.
atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; carotid arteries; HIV; epidemiology
This study examined whether there were neuroanatomical differences evident on CT scans of individuals with dementia who differed on depression history. Neuroanatomical variables consisted of visual ratings of frontal lobe deep white matter, subcortical white matter, and subcortical gray matter hypodensities in the CT scans of 182 individuals from the Study of Dementia in Swedish Twins who were diagnosed with dementia and had information on depression history. Compared to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and no depression, individuals with Alzheimer's disease and late-onset depression (first depressive episode at age 60 or over) had a greater number of striatal hypodensities (gray matter hypodensities in the caudate nucleus and lentiform nucleus). There were no significant differences in frontal lobe deep white matter or subcortical white matter. These findings suggest that late-onset depression may be a process that is distinct from the neurodegenerative changes caused by Alzheimer's disease.
Hormone therapy has been shown to reduce markers of vascular inflammation in postmenopausal women. C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of generalized inflammation, is raised by oral estradiol therapy. It is not known how sex hormone concentrations relate to the markers of inflammation in postmenopausal women taking or not taking hormone therapy.
This observational study includes postmenopausal women participating in the Estrogen in the Prevention of Atherosclerosis Trial (EPAT). Multiple measures of serum sex hormone and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels from 107 postmenopausal women taking oral estradiol therapy (ET) and 109 taking placebo over 2 years were correlated with markers of inflammation over the same time period using generalized estimating equations.
Levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) were significantly inversely associated with estrone (p = 0.05), total and free estradiol (p = 0.008 and 0.02, respectively), and SHBG (p = 0.03) only among oral ET users. Serum homocysteine levels were also inversely associated with estrone (p = 0.0001), total and free estradiol (p = 0.0006 and 0.0009, respectively) in ET-treated women only. No such associations were observed among women taking placebo. C-reactive protein (CRP) was positively associated with estrogens and SHBG among women taking oral ET but inversely associated with SHBG among the placebo group.
The inverse associations of estrogens with sICAM-1, and homocysteine support an anti-inflammatory property of estrogen, which was only observed at pharmacologic levels in postmenopausal women. The positive associations between estrogens and CRP in the ET-treated women can be explained by the first-pass hepatic effect rather than a pro-inflammatory response.
estrogen; androgen; CRP; sICAM; homocysteine
Isoflavonoids (IFLs) may protect against chronic diseases including cancer. IFL exposure is traditionally measured from plasma but the reliability of urine is uncertain. We assessed whether IFL excretion in overnight urine (OU) or spot urine (SU) reliably reflects IFLs in plasma (PL) and the usefulness of the three matrices to determine soy intake compliance.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled soy intervention trial with 350 postmenopausal women, IFLs (daidzein, genistein, glycitein, equol, O-desmethylangolensin, dihydrodaidzein, dihydrogenistein) were analyzed by LCMS in OU, SU, and PL collected at baseline and every 6 months over 2.5 years.
High between-subjects intraclass correlations between all three matrices (median 0.94) and high between-subjects Pearson correlations (median rOU-PL=0.80; median rSU-PL=0.80; median rOU-SU=0.92) allowed the development of equations to predict IFL values from any of the three matrices. Equations developed from a randomly selected 87% of all available data were valid as high correlations were found on the residual 13% of data between equation-generated and measured IFL values (median rOU-PL=0.86; median rSU-PL=0.78; median rOU-SU=0.84); median absolute IFL differences for OU-PL, SU-PL, and OU-SU were 8.8 nM, 10.3 nM and 0.28 nmol/mg, respectively. All three matrices showed highly significant IFL differences between the placebo and soy intervention group at study end (P<0.0001) and highly significant correlations between IFL values and counted soy doses in the intervention group.
OU and SU IFL excretion reflect circulating PL IFL levels in healthy postmenopausal women accurately.
Noninvasively-collected urine can be used to reliably determine systemic IFL exposure and soy intake compliance.
isoflavonoids; urine; plasma; compliance; soy; intervention; biomarker
Because activation of T cells is associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pathogenesis, CD4 and CD8 activation levels in patients coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) may explain conflicting reports regarding effects of HCV on HIV disease progression.
Kaplan-Meier and multivariate Cox regression models were used to study the risk of incident clinical AIDS and AIDS-related deaths among 813 HCV-negative women with HIV infection, 87 HCV-positive nonviremic women with HIV coinfection, and 407 HCV-positive viremic women with HIV coinfection (median follow-up time, 5.2 years). For 592 women, the percentages of activated CD4 and CD8 T cells expressing HLA-DR (DR) and/or CD38 were evaluated.
HCV-positive viremic women had a statistically significantly higher percentage of activated CD8 T cells (P < .001) and a statistically significantly higher incidence of AIDS compared with HCV-negative women (P < .001 [log-rank test]). The AIDS risk was greater among HCV-positive viremic women in the highest tertile compared with the lowest tertile (>43% vs <26%) of CD8+CD38+DR+ T cells (hazard ratio, 2.94 [95% confidence interval, 1.50–5.77]; P =.001). This difference was not observed in the HCV-negative women (hazard ratio, 1.87 [95% confidence interval, 0.80–4.35]; P =.16). In contrast, CD4 activation predicted AIDS in both groups similarly. Increased percentages of CD8+CD38−DR+, CD4+CD38−DR−, and CD8+CD38−DR− T cells were associated with a >60% decreased risk of AIDS for HCV-positive viremic women and HCV-negative women.
HCV-positive viremic women with HIV coinfection who have high levels of T cell activation may have increased risk of AIDS. Earlier treatment of HIV and HCV infection may be beneficial.
A considerable number of postmenopausal women who receive estrogen therapy (ET) are also treated for hypercholesterolemia with cholesterol-lowering statins. Statins and steroid hormones can compete for the same steroid-metabolizing enzymes. We investigated whether long-term administration of statins had an effect on serum estrogen and androgen levels in postmenopausal women receiving and not receiving oral ET.
A subgroup analysis from the Estrogen in the Prevention of Atherosclerosis Trial, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, was performed. A total of 222 women were randomized to receive either placebo or 1 mg of oral micronized E2 daily for 2 years. In both the placebo and treatment groups, participants with LDL-cholesterol levels >160 mg/dL were treated with statins. Blood samples were obtained at baseline and every 6 months during the trial. Serum levels of DHEA, androstenedione, testosterone, estrone and E2 were measured by RIA.
Among 86 placebo- and 90 estradiol-treated subjects with baseline and on-trial hormone measurements, no significant differences were observed between the statin-free and statin-treated groups in mean changes from baseline to on-trial levels in any of the androgens or estrogens, whether or not the postmenopausal women were treated with estrogen.
The results suggest that ET and statins can be used simultaneously with no deleterious effects on circulating hormone levels.
statins; estrogen therapy; estrogens; androgens; postmenopausal women
Depressed mood is a frequent co-morbidity of dementia suggesting that they might share a common neuropathological substrate. Gray matter (GM) atrophy and white matter lesions (WML) have been described in both conditions. Our aims were to determine the relationship of GM and WML with cognition and depressed mood in the same population. Structural brain images were obtained from 42 controls, 20 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and 32 subjects with cognitive impairment/dementia due to subcortical cerebrovascular disease (vascCIND/IVD) and segmented to obtain lobar GM, white matter and WML volumes. Lobar WML had a negative effect on GM in all lobes in controls, on frontal, parietal and occipital GM in AD and on frontal GM in vascCIND/IVD. Frontal, temporal and hippocampal GM were associated with cognitive functions and frontal WML load with depressed mood. Cognitive function is associated with GM atrophy and depressed mood is associated with frontal WML. This indicates that although both often occur together depressed mood and cognitive impairment are caused by different pathological correlates.
white matter lesion; gray matter atrophy; depression; mood; cognition; MRI
The second-generation antipsychotics are associated with metabolic abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia. Elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease are frequently treated with these antipsychotics but there is little data available on their metabolic effects.
We assessed 186 male and 235 female Alzheimer’s disease outpatients from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness–Alzheimer’s Disease (CATIE-AD) for changes in weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glucose, and lipids in relation to duration of second-generation antipsychotics (i.e., olanzapine, quetiapine, and risperidone) use throughout the 36-week trial, using logistic regression and mixed-effects models.
Females showed significant weight gain of 0.14 lb per week of use (p = 0.006) while change was nonsignificant in males. The odds ratios of significant weight gain (i.e., ≥ 7% of body weight) compared to patients who did not use antipsychotics were 1.56 (95% CI 0.53 to 4.58), 2.89 (95% CI 0.97 to 8.64), and 3.38 (95% CI 1.24 to 9.23) among patients with antipsychotics use ≤ 12 weeks, > 12 to 24 weeks, and > 24 weeks during the trial, respectively. Olanzapine and quetiapine treatments were significantly associated with weight gain (0.12 and 0.14 pounds/week, respectively). In addition, olanzapine was significantly associated with decreases in HDL cholesterol (−0.19mG/dL/week), and increased girth (0.07 inches/week) relative to the placebo group. No treatment effects were noted for changes in blood pressure, glucose, and triglycerides.
Second-generation antipsychotics use was associated with weight gain in females, with olanzapine and quetiapine in particular, and with unfavorable change in HDL cholesterol and girth with olanzapine. The potential consequences of these effects suggest that patients with Alzheimer’s disease treated with second-generation antipsychotics should be monitored closely.