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OBJECTIVE - Atherosclerosis developed during premenopausal years predicts postmenopausal atherosclerosis burden. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants, recently approved for hot flushes, have been associated with increased ischemic stroke risk in several observational studies; however, effects on carotid artery atherosclerosis, a strong predictor of future vascular events, are unknown.
METHODS - The effects of chronic administration of a commonly prescribed SSRI, sertraline HCl, on atherosclerosis in the carotid artery was assessed in a placebo-controlled, longitudinal, randomized study of premeonopausal depressed and nondepressed cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis; n = 42). Physiologic and behavioral phenotypes were evaluated at baseline and after 18 months of oral sertraline (20 mg/kg, n = 21) or placebo (n = 21). Carotid artery atherosclerosis was measured post mortem via histomorphometry.
RESULTS - Atherosclerosis extent in the right common carotid artery, on average, was 60% greater in sertraline-treated depressed monkeys compared with all other groups (P = 0.028). The results of linear regression analyses suggested that sertraline and depression effects on atherosclerosis were not mediated by their effects on behavioral and physiological risk factors.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings suggest that chronic SSRI treatment is associated with the progression of carotid artery atherosclerosis, which may increase the risk for future vascular events, particularly in depressed women. The underlying mechanism remains to be determined, but does not appear to be related to SSRI effects on traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
BACKGROUND - Common carotid artery (CCA) intima-media thickness (IMT) can be measured using ultrasound near to or below the carotid bulb. This might affect associations of IMT with coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and events.
METHODS - IMT measurements were performed near and below the divergence of the CCA bulb in 279 white individuals aged 45 to 54 years free of CHD at baseline and a subset of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a cohort composed of whites, blacks, Chinese, and Hispanic subjects. Participants were followed for an average of 8.2 years. Far wall mean of the maximum IMT (MMaxIMT) and mean of the mean IMT of the right and left CCAs were averaged. Framingham risk factors were used in multivariate linear regression models. Parsimonious Cox proportional regression models included first-time CHD as outcome.
RESULTS - Mean of the mean IMT below the bulb was smaller than near the bulb (0.51 ± 0.078 vs 0.56 ± 0.088 mm, P < .001) and had similar associations with risk factors (model R(2) = 0.215 vs 0.186). MMaxIMT below the bulb was associated with risk factors (model R(2) = 0.211), but MMaxIMT near to the bulb was not (R(2) = 0.025). Mean of the mean IMT and MMaxIMT below the bulb were associated with CHD events (hazard ratios, 1.67 [P = .047] and 1.72 [P = .037], respectively) but not when measured near the bulb.
CONCLUSIONS - CCA IMT measurements made below the bulb are smaller but have more consistent associations with CHD risk factors and outcomes compared with IMT measured near the bulb.
Copyright © 2014 American Society of Echocardiography. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - Sustained hemodynamic stress mediated by high blood flow promotes arteriogenesis, the outward remodeling of existing arteries. Here, we examined whether Ca²⁺/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) regulates arteriogenesis.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Ligation of the left common carotid led to an increase in vessel diameter and perimeter of internal and external elastic lamina in the contralateral, right common carotid. Deletion of CaMKIIδ (CaMKIIδ-/-) abolished this outward remodeling. Carotid ligation increased CaMKII expression and was associated with oxidative activation of CaMKII in the adventitia and endothelium. Remodeling was abrogated in a knock-in model in which oxidative activation of CaMKII is abolished. Early after ligation, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) was robustly expressed in the adventitia of right carotid arteries of WT but not CaMKIIδ-/- mice. MMP9 mainly colocalized with adventitial macrophages. In contrast, we did not observe an effect of CaMKIIδ deficiency on other proposed mediators of arteriogenesis such as expression of adhesion molecules or smooth muscle proliferation. Transplantation of WT bone marrow into CaMKIIδ-/- mice normalized flow-mediated remodeling.
CONCLUSION - CaMKIIδ is activated by oxidation under high blood flow conditions and is required for flow-mediated remodeling through a mechanism that includes increased MMP9 expression in bone marrow-derived cells invading the arterial wall.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS - Arterial stiffness is a prominent feature of vascular aging and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Fat around the heart and blood vessels (i.e. pericardial fat, Pfat) may contribute to arterial stiffness via a local paracrine effect of adipose tissue on the surrounding vasculature. Thus, we determined the association between Pfat and carotid stiffness in 5770 participants (mean age 62 years, 53% female, 25% African American, 24% Hispanic, and 13% Chinese) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Pfat was measured by computed tomography, and ultrasonography of the common carotid artery was used to calculate the distensibility coefficient (DC) and Young's modulus (YM). Lower DC and higher YM values indicate stiffer arteries. Pfat quartile was highly associated with demographic, behavioral, anthropometric, hemodynamic, metabolic, and disease variables in both men and women. After adjusting for height, clinical site, CVD risk factors, and medications, a 1 standard deviation (41.91 cm(3)) increment in Pfat was associated with a 0.00007±0.00002 1/mm Hg lower DC (p=0.0002) in men and a 48.1±15.1 mm Hg/mm higher YM in women (p=0.002). Additional adjustment for C-reactive protein, coronary artery calcification, and carotid intima-media thickness had only modest effects. More importantly, adjusting for body mass index and waist circumference did not significantly change the overall results.
CONCLUSION - Higher Pfat is associated with higher carotid stiffness, independent of traditional CVD risk factors and obesity.
Copyright © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
INTRODUCTION - Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is a subclinical marker of atherosclerosis and a strong predictor of stroke. Pericardial fat (PF), the fat depot around the heart, has been associated with several atherosclerosis risk factors. We sought to examine the association between carotid IMT and PF, and to examine whether such an association is independent from common atherosclerosis risk factors including measures of overall adiposity.
METHODS - Unadjusted and multivariable-adjusted linear regression analysis was used to examine associations between common carotid artery (CCA) IMT and internal carotid artery (ICA) IMT with PF in a random sample of 996 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) who underwent carotid ultrasound and chest computed tomography at baseline examination.
RESULTS - A significant positive correlation was observed between PF and CCA-IMT (r=0.27, P < .0001) and ICA-IMT (r=0.17, P < .0001). In an unadjusted sex-specific linear regression analysis, there was a significant association between PF (1-SD difference) and CCA-IMT (mm) in both women (beta coefficient [95% confidence interval]: 0.06 [0.04, 0.08], P < .0001) and men (0.03 [0.01, 0.05], P < .0002), an association that persisted after further adjusting for age and ethnicity (0.02 [+0.00, 0.04], P=.0120 for women, and 0.02 [+0.00, 0.03], P=.0208 for men). However, after additional adjustment for atherosclerosis risk factors and either body mass index or waist circumference, these relations were no longer significant in either sex. In similar analyses, PF was significantly associated with ICA-IMT in both men (0.11 [0.06, 0.15], P < .0001) and women (0.08 [0.02, 0.13], P=.0041). These relations were no longer significant in women in multivariable-adjusted models, but persisted in men in all models except after adjusting for age, ethnicity, and waist circumference.
CONCLUSIONS - In the general population PF is associated with carotid IMT, an association that possibly is not independent from markers of overall adiposity or common atherosclerosis risk factors.
(c) 2010 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Inflammatory markers, particularly C-reactive protein (CRP), predict incident cardiovascular disease and are associated with the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis. The relations between multiple inflammatory markers and direct measures of atherosclerosis are less well established. Participants in the Offspring Cohort of the Framingham Heart Study (n = 2,885, 53% women, mean age 59 years) received routine assessments of common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT), internal carotid artery intima-media thickness (ICA-IMT), and the presence or absence of > or =25% carotid stenosis by ultrasonography. Circulating inflammatory markers assessed from an examination 4 years later included CRP, interleukin-6 (IL-6), intercellular adhesion molecule-1, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, P-selectin, and CD40 ligand. Assessed as a group, inflammatory markers were significantly associated with ICA-IMT (p = 0.01), marginally with carotid stenosis (p = 0.08), but not with CCA-IMT. Individually, with an increase from the 25th to 75th percentile in IL-6, there were significant increases in ICA-IMT and carotid stenosis (for ICA-IMT, estimated fold increase 1.04, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.06, p = 0.0004; for carotid stenosis, odds ratio 1.25, 95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.47, p = 0.007) after adjustment for age, gender, and established risk factors for atherosclerosis. There was a similar significant multivariate-adjusted association of CRP with ICA-IMT but not with carotid stenosis. Smoking appeared to modify the associations of ICA-IMT with CRP (p = 0.009) and with IL-6 (p = 0.006); the association was more pronounced in current (vs former or never) smokers. In conclusion, there were modest associations of inflammatory markers, particularly IL-6, with carotid atherosclerosis. This association appears more pronounced in current smokers than in former smokers and nonsmokers.
BACKGROUND - Increased carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) is a non-invasive marker of systemic arterial disease. Increased IMT has been associated with atherosclerosis, abnormal arterial mechanics, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Given evidence of a relationship between cardiovascular health and attention-executive-psychomotor functioning, the purpose of this study was to examine IMT in relation to neuropsychological test performance in patients with a variety of cardiovascular diagnoses.
METHODS - One hundred and nine participants, ages 55 to 85, underwent neuropsychological assessment and B-mode ultrasound of the left common carotid artery. IMT was calculated using an automated algorithm based on a validated edge-detection technique. The relationship between IMT and measures of language, memory, visual-spatial abilities and attention-executive-psychomotor functioning was modeled using hierarchical linear regression analyses adjusted for age, education, sex, cardiovascular risk, current systolic blood pressure, and history of coronary artery disease (CAD).
RESULTS - Increased IMT was associated with significantly lower performance in the attention-executive-psychomotor domain (IMT beta=-0.26, p<.01), independent of age, education, sex, cardiovascular risk, current systolic blood pressure, and CAD (F(10,100)=3.61, p<.001). IMT was not significantly related to language, memory, or visual-spatial abilities.
CONCLUSIONS - Our findings suggest that, in patients with cardiovascular disease, IMT may be associated with the integrity of frontal subcortical networks responsible for attention-executive-psychomotor performance. Future studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms by which IMT affects cognition and examine potential interactions between increased IMT and other measures of cardiovascular health such as blood pressure variability, cardiac systolic performance, and systemic perfusion.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE - Calcified arterial plaque has been proposed as a subclinical marker of atherosclerosis. We compared it to a well-validated surrogate--carotid intimal medial thickness (IMT).
METHODS - Calcified arterial plaque was measured in 2 vascular beds (coronary and carotid) by computed tomography, and common carotid artery IMT was measured by B-mode ultrasonography, in 438 participants.
RESULTS - Calcium was positively associated with IMT (r=0.36 for coronary and r=0.45 for carotid, both P<0.0001). Correlations were attenuated with adjustment for age, sex, and diabetes.
CONCLUSIONS - Calcified plaque in the coronary and carotid arteries is moderately associated with subclinical atherosclerosis.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE - Carotid artery intima-medial thickness (IMT), a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, is a strong predictor of subsequent cardiovascular morbidity. The role of genetic factors in thickening of the carotid wall remains largely unknown. We hypothesize that in families with multiple members having diabetes, carotid IMT is likely to be associated with both inherited and environmental factors.
METHODS - To determine the extent of the familial aggregation of carotid IMT in the presence of type 2 diabetes, we studied 252 individuals with type 2 diabetes (mean age 60.6 years) from 122 families. Common carotid artery IMT was measured by high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography. Other measured factors included lipid levels, body mass index, fasting glucose, hemoglobin A1c, albumin/creatinine ratio, and self-reported medical history. Heritability estimates were obtained by using variance component methodology, as implemented in the SOLAR software package. Tests for association between carotid IMT and variables were performed by using mixed model analysis while accounting for the correlation due to family structure.
RESULTS - The age-, sex-, and race-adjusted heritability estimate for carotid IMT was 0.32 (SE 0.17, P=0.02). Further adjustment for total cholesterol, hypertension status, and current smoking status resulted in a heritability estimate of 0.41 (SE 0.16, P=0.004). The strongest predictors of carotid IMT, after adjusting for age and sex, were ethnicity (African American versus white), total cholesterol, and smoking status.
CONCLUSIONS - These data provide empirical evidence that subclinical cardiovascular disease has a significant genetic component and merits a search for the genes involved in susceptibility to the atherosclerotic complications of diabetes.