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Circulation Journal
Vol. 72 (2008) No. 5 p. 778-785



Clinical Investigation

Background Coronary calcification has been correlated with the presence and extent of coronary artery disease (CAD), so in the present study the associations between coronary artery calcification score (CACS) and endothelial dysfunction, as well as the important inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL), were studied in asymptomatic individuals at intermediate risk for CAD. Methods and Results The study group comprised 177 subjects (103 males) aged 50.6±5.9 years. CACS was measured by multidetector computed tomography using the Agatston method. Endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and endothelium-independent nitroglycerin-mediated dilatation (NMD) were measured by high-resolution external brachial ultrasound. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) was detected in 82 subjects (52 males), and the median CACS was 143 [31-311.25] units. After adjusting for gender and body mass index, log (CACS +1) correlated positively with age (r=0.401, p<0.001) and IL-6 levels (r=0.442, p<0.001), and negatively with FMD (r=-0.511, p<0.001). The correlations of log (CACS +1) with CRP and OxLDL levels, and with NMD, were non-significant. In a multivariate-adjusted logistic regression model, age (odds ratio (OR) =1.083 [1.014-1.156]), serum IL-6 level (OR=3.837 [2.166-6.798]) and FMD (OR=0.851 [0.793-0.913]) were significantly and independently associated with CAC. Conclusions Peripheral endothelial function inversely correlated with CACS, whereas IL-6 level was associated with CACS. Testing for endothelial function and IL-6 level may improve cardiovascular risk assessment and help target the therapeutic strategies in asymptomatic patients at intermediate CAD risk. (Circ J 2008; 72: 778 - 785)


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