Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis
Online ISSN : 1880-3873
Print ISSN : 1340-3478
ISSN-L : 1340-3478
Original Article
Metabolic Syndrome and Progression of Atherosclerosis among Middle-aged US Adults
Amy Z. Fan
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2006 Volume 13 Issue 1 Pages 46-54


Metabolic syndrome, indicated by insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia, obesity, central obesity, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and hypertension, contributes to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. However, it is controversial whether the indicators of metabolic syndrome are related to subclinical atherosclerosis collectively or individually. Whether there is any gender-based difference in the mechanisms of metabolic syndrome-induced atherosclerosis progression is also unknown. Two models were compared in this study. Model 1 assumes that a latent factor, metabolic syndrome per se, impacts subclinical atherosclerosis (collective effects model); Model 2 assumes the effect of the syndrome is mediated through its indicators (individual effects model). Data were obtained from the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study. The cohort consists of 573 adults (age, 40−60 years) who were asymptomatic for cardiovascular disease. Subclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by measuring common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT) using B-mode ultrasound. Three examinations were completed at 1.5-year intervals from 1995−1999. The analyses were performed with SAS 8.2 and AMOS 4.0. The results showed that atherogenic effects of metabolic syndrome were mediated through its indicators; there were gender-based differences in the mechanisms of metabolic syndrome-induced atherosclerosis. Central obesity was significantly associated with the baseline IMT for men only, whereas triglycerides were significantly associated with the progression of IMT for women only. Systolic blood pressure was significantly associated with the baseline and progression for both men and women. However, fasting insulin was not found to be significantly associated with the baseline and progression of IMT in the multivariate model, although it was significantly associated with other components of metabolic syndrome.

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