2018 Volume 82 Issue 12 Pages 2954-2961
Background: Severe abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) points to high cardiovascular risk and leptin stimulates arterial calcification; however, clinical data on their association are scarce. We studied the link between serum leptin and AAC severity and progression, and the effect of smoking and lipid levels, on this association in men.
Methods and Results: At baseline, 548 community-dwelling men aged 50–85 years underwent blood collection and lateral lumbar spine radiography. In 448 men, X-ray was repeated after 3 and 7.5 years. AAC was assessed using Kauppila’s semiquantitative score. In multivariable models, high leptin was associated with higher odds of severe AAC (odds ratio [OR]=1.71 per SD, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.22–2.40). The odds of severe AAC were the highest in men who had elevated leptin levels and either were ever-smokers (OR=9.22, 95% CI: 3.43–24.78) or had hypertriglyceridemia (vs. men without these characteristics). Higher leptin was associated with greater AAC progression (OR=1.34 per SD, 95% CI: 1.04–1.74). The risk of AAC progression was the highest in men who had elevated leptin levels and either were current smokers or had high low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels (OR=5.91, 95% CI: 2.46–14.16 vs. men without these characteristics). These links remained significant after adjustment for baseline AAC and in subgroups defined according to smoking and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels.
Conclusions: In older men, high leptin levels are associated with greater severity and rapid progression of AAC independent of smoking, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol or triglycerides.