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BACKGROUND - Proteomic approaches allow measurement of thousands of proteins in a single specimen, which can accelerate biomarker discovery. However, applying these technologies to massive biobanks is not currently feasible because of the practical barriers and costs of implementing such assays at scale. To overcome these challenges, we used a "virtual proteomic" approach, linking genetically predicted protein levels to clinical diagnoses in >40 000 individuals.
METHODS - We used genome-wide association data from the Framingham Heart Study (n=759) to construct genetic predictors for 1129 plasma protein levels. We validated the genetic predictors for 268 proteins and used them to compute predicted protein levels in 41 288 genotyped individuals in the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) cohort. We tested associations for each predicted protein with 1128 clinical phenotypes. Lead associations were validated with directly measured protein levels and either low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or subclinical atherosclerosis in the MDCS (Malmö Diet and Cancer Study; n=651).
RESULTS - In the virtual proteomic analysis in eMERGE, 55 proteins were associated with 89 distinct diagnoses at a false discovery rate q<0.1. Among these, 13 associations involved lipid (n=7) or atherosclerosis (n=6) phenotypes. We tested each association for validation in MDCS using directly measured protein levels. At Bonferroni-adjusted significance thresholds, levels of apolipoprotein E isoforms were associated with hyperlipidemia, and circulating C-type lectin domain family 1 member B and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β predicted subclinical atherosclerosis. Odds ratios for carotid atherosclerosis were 1.31 (95% CI, 1.08-1.58; P=0.006) per 1-SD increment in C-type lectin domain family 1 member B and 0.79 (0.66-0.94; P=0.008) per 1-SD increment in platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β.
CONCLUSIONS - We demonstrate a biomarker discovery paradigm to identify candidate biomarkers of cardiovascular and other diseases.
Prior studies reported associations of APOL1 nephropathy risk variants with subclinical atherosclerosis. However, these findings were limited to older individuals with high comorbidities. To evaluate this in younger individuals, we calculated associations of APOL1 risk variants (high risk [2 risk variants] vs. low risk [0-1 risk variant]) with prevalent, incident, or progressive coronary artery calcification, a carotid intima media thickness over the 90th percentile, and left ventricular hypertrophy in 1315 black participants of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. The mean age of this cohort was 44.6 years and their mean estimated glomerular filtration rate was 102.5 ml/min/1.73m. High-risk participants were found to be younger and have a higher prevalence of albuminuria than low-risk participants. In Poisson regression models adjusted for comorbidities and kidney function, the risk of prevalent coronary artery calcification (relative risk [95% confidence interval] 1.12 [0.72,1.71]), the incident coronary artery calcification (1.50 [0.87,2.59]), and the progression of coronary artery calcification (1.40 [0.88,2.23]) did not significantly differ in high vs. low-risk participants. Furthermore, the risk of carotid intima media thickness over the 90th percentile (1.28 [0.78,2.10]) and left ventricular hypertrophy (1.02[0.73,1.43]) did not significantly differ in high vs. low-risk participants in fully-adjusted models. Thus, APOL1 risk variants did not associate with subclinical markers of atherosclerosis or left ventricular hypertrophy in middle-aged black adults with preserved kidney function.
Copyright © 2017 International Society of Nephrology. All rights reserved.
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 - The burden of subclinical atherosclerosis in asymptomatic individuals is heritable and associated with elevated risk of developing clinical coronary heart disease. We sought to identify genetic variants in protein-coding regions associated with subclinical atherosclerosis and the risk of subsequent coronary heart disease.
METHODS AND RESULTS - We studied a total of 25 109 European ancestry and African ancestry participants with coronary artery calcification (CAC) measured by cardiac computed tomography and 52 869 participants with common carotid intima-media thickness measured by ultrasonography within the CHARGE Consortium (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology). Participants were genotyped for 247 870 DNA sequence variants (231 539 in exons) across the genome. A meta-analysis of exome-wide association studies was performed across cohorts for CAC and carotid intima-media thickness. APOB p.Arg3527Gln was associated with 4-fold excess CAC (P=3×10). The APOE ε2 allele (p.Arg176Cys) was associated with both 22.3% reduced CAC (P=1×10) and 1.4% reduced carotid intima-media thickness (P=4×10) in carriers compared with noncarriers. In secondary analyses conditioning on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration, the ε2 protective association with CAC, although attenuated, remained strongly significant. Additionally, the presence of ε2 was associated with reduced risk for coronary heart disease (odds ratio 0.77; P=1×10).
CONCLUSIONS - Exome-wide association meta-analysis demonstrates that protein-coding variants in APOB and APOE associate with subclinical atherosclerosis. APOE ε2 represents the first significant association for multiple subclinical atherosclerosis traits across multiple ethnicities, as well as clinical coronary heart disease.
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.
CONTEXT - Relative to European Americans, calcified atherosclerotic plaque (CP) is less prevalent and severe in African-Americans (AAs).
OBJECTIVE - Predictors of progression of CP in the aorta, carotid, and coronary arteries were examined in AAs over a mean 5.3 ± 1.4-year interval.
DESIGN - This is the African American-Diabetes Heart Study.
SETTING - A type 2 diabetes (T2D)-affected cohort was included.
PARTICIPANTS - A total of 300 unrelated AAs with T2D; 50% female, mean age 55 ± 9 years, baseline hemoglobin A1c 8.1 ± 1.8% was included.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES - Glycemic control, renal parameters, vitamin D, and computed tomography-derived measures of adiposity, vascular CP, and volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) in lumbar and thoracic vertebrae were obtained at baseline and follow-up.
RESULTS - CP increased in incidence and quantity/mass in all three vascular beds over the 5-year study (P < .0001). Lower baseline lumbar and thoracic vBMD were associated with progression of abdominal aorta CP (P < .008), but not progression of carotid or coronary artery CP. Lower baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate was associated with progression of carotid artery CP (P = .0004), and higher baseline pericardial adipose volume was associated with progression of coronary artery (P = .001) and aorta (P = .0006) CP independent of body mass index. There was a trend for an inverse relationship between change in thoracic vBMD and change in aortic CP (P = .05).
CONCLUSIONS - In this longitudinal study, lower baseline thoracic and lumbar vBMD and estimated glomerular filtration rate and higher pericardial adipose volumes were associated with increases in CP in AAs with T2D. Changes in these variables and baseline levels and/or changes in glycemic control, albuminuria, and vitamin D were not significantly associated with progression of CP.
RATIONALE - Human and murine Vcam1 promoters contain 2 adjacent nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB)-binding elements. Both are essential for cytokine-induced transcription of transiently transfected promoter-reporter constructs. However, the relevance of these insights to regulation of the endogenous Vcam1 gene and to pathophysiological processes in vivo remained unknown.
OBJECTIVE - Determine the role of the 5' NF-κB-binding element in expression of the endogenous Vcam1 gene.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells was used to inactivate the 5' NF-κB element in the Vcam1 promoter and alter 3 nucleotides in the 5' untranslated region to allow direct comparison of wild-type versus mutant allele RNA expression and chromatin configuration in heterozygous mice. Systemic treatment with inflammatory cytokines or endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide) induced lower expression of the mutant allele relative to wild-type by endothelial cells in the aorta, heart, and lungs. The mutant allele also showed lower endothelial expression in 2-week atherosclerotic lesions in Vcam1 heterozygous/low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice fed a cholesterol-rich diet. In vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation assays of heart showed diminished lipopolysaccharide-induced association of RNA polymerase 2 and NF-κB p65 with the mutant promoter. In contrast, expression of mutant and wild-type alleles was comparable in intimal cells of wire-injured carotid artery and 4- to 12-week atherosclerotic lesions.
CONCLUSIONS - This study highlights differences between in vivo and in vitro promoter analyses, and reveals a differential role for a NF-κB transcriptional response element in endothelial vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression induced by inflammatory cytokines or a cholesterol-rich diet versus intimal cell expression in atherosclerotic lesions and injured arteries.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.
AIMS - Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) plays an important role in inflammatory diseases and is over-expressed in human atherosclerotic artery specimens. The present study investigated the role of TSLP in platelet activation and thrombosis models in vitro and in vivo, as well as the underlying mechanism and signaling pathway.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Western blotting and flow cytometry demonstrated that the TSLP receptor was expressed on murine platelets. According to flow cytometry, platelet stimulation with TSLP induced platelet degranulation and integrin αIIbβ3 activation. A TSLPR deficiency caused defective platelet aggregation, defective platelet secretion and markedly blunted thrombus growth in perfusion chambers at both low and high shear rates. TSLPR KO mice exhibited defective carotid artery thrombus formation after exposure to FeCl3. TSLP increased Akt phosphorylation, an effect that was abrogated by the PI3K inhibitors wortmannin and LY294002. The PI3K inhibitors further diminished TSLP-induced platelet activation. TSLP-mediated platelet degranulation, integrin αIIbβ3 activation and Akt phosphorylation were blunted in platelets that lacked the TSLP receptor.
CONCLUSION - This study demonstrated that the functional TSLPR was surface-expressed on murine platelets. The inflammatory cytokine TSLP triggered platelet activation and thrombus formation via TSLP-dependent PI3K/Akt signaling, which suggests an important role for TSLP in linking vascular inflammation and thrombo-occlusive diseases.
© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.
IMPORTANCE - Moyamoya syndrome is a rare, occlusive cerebrovascular arteriopathy with significant risk for stroke. Populations that frequently undergo otolaryngologic procedures, including patients with Down syndrome and sickle cell disease, are particularly at risk for moyamoya. The initial presentation of moyamoya syndrome as stroke in the perioperative period of an otolaryngologic procedure has not been reported.
OBSERVATIONS - A retrospective medical record review assessed the relationship of otolaryngologic operations and the onset of moyamoya symptoms. Moyamoya syndrome was present in 137 patients. Of these, 19 patients underwent otolaryngologic procedures; 3 children had strokes 2 to 4 days after adenotonsillectomy, including 2 children with Down syndrome. Intraoperative carotid artery injury was considered but was proven not to be the cause of stroke. Bilateral moyamoya disease was diagnosed in all 3 patients via vascular imaging studies; all subsequently underwent revascularization procedures.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE - Clinicians should be aware of an elevated prevalence of moyamoya syndrome in Down syndrome and sickle cell disease populations and should consider moyamoya syndrome in the differential diagnosis of postoperative stroke. Stroke risk is magnified in the perioperative setting related to perioperative dehydration and hypotension. Awareness and screening for cerebral vasculopathy in high-risk populations could prompt measures to decrease the occurrence of postoperative strokes after adenotonsillectomies.
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 - It is unclear to what extent subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as coronary artery calcium (CAC), carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), and brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) are mediators of the known associations between traditional cardiovascular risk factors and incident CVD events. We assessed the portion of the effects of risk factors on incident CVD events that are mediated through CAC, CIMT, and FMD.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - Six thousand three hundred fifty-five of 6814 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis participants were included. Nonlinear implementation of structural equation modeling (STATA mediation package) was used to assess whether CAC, CIMT, or FMD are mediators of the association between traditional risk factors and incident CVD event. Mean age was 62 years, with 47% men, 12% diabetics, and 13% current smokers. After a mean follow-up of 7.5 years, there were 539 CVD adjudicated events. CAC showed the highest mediation while FMD showed the least. Age had the highest percent of total effect mediated via CAC for CVD outcomes, whereas current cigarette smoking had the least percent of total effect mediated via CAC (percent [95% confidence interval]: 80.2 [58.8-126.7] versus 10.6 [6.1-38.5], respectively). Body mass index showed the highest percent of total effect mediated via CIMT (17.7 [11.6-38.9]); only a negligible amount of the association between traditional risk factors and CVD was mediated via FMD.
CONCLUSIONS - Many of the risk factors for incident CVD (other than age, sex, and body mass index) showed a modest level of mediation via CAC, CIMT, and FMD, suggesting that current subclinical CVD markers may not be optimal intermediaries for gauging upstream risk factor modification.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.