To investigate the association of the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and its receptors, osteoprotegerin (OPG) and death receptor 5 (DR5) with large-artery atherosclerosis (LAA) stroke and its prognosis.
We included patients with LAA stroke (n = 132) according to the TOAST classification system and controls (n = 60). To evaluate the extent and severity of cerebral atherosclerosis, the LAA stroke group was subdivided into 3 subgroups by number of cerebral arteries with atherosclerotic stenosis (≥50%): single, double and multiple (≥3). Plasma levels of TRAIL, OPG and DR5 were measured by ELISA. Ordinal logistic regression was used to analyze the association between the plasma levels of TRAIL, OPG, DR5 and the severity of cerebral atherosclerosis. Prognosis was determined by the Modified Rankin Scale at 3 months after stroke. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to evaluated TRAIL as a predictor of prognosis.
Plasma TRAIL level was significantly lower for LAA patients than controls (P<0.001), while plasma OPG and DR5 levels were higher (both P<0.001). Logistic regression analysis revealed that risk of severe cerebral atherosclerosis was reduced significantly with increased plasma level of TRAIL (OR 0.438; 95% CI 0.282–0.681; P<0.001), whereas increased with high plasma levels of OPG and DR5 (OR 2.707; 95% CI 1.702–4.302, P <0.001; OR 3.593; 95% CI 1.878–6.869, P <0.001). Plasma TRAIL level was negatively correlated with the prognosis (r = - 0.372, P <0.001). The optimal cut-off value of TRAIL for prognosis was 848.63 pg/mL. The sensitivity and specificity at this cut-off value were 63.1% and 86.2%, respectively. After adding the plasma TRAIL level into the multivariate model of ROC, the area under the ROC curve was increased from 0.639 to 0.785, but the change was not statistical significant (P = 0.146).
TRAIL and its receptors OPG and DR5 may be involved in LAA stroke and the plasma level of TRAIL may be a biomarker predicting the severity of cerebral atherosclerosis and the prognosis of LAA stroke.