Carotid ultrasonography is useful for the assessments of the risk stratification for stroke or coronary artery disease, because it is a simple, repeatable, and noninvasive procedure. The carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), which is assessed using carotid ultrasonography, is a widely used surrogate marker for the severity of atherosclerosis. Several large clinical studies showed that increased carotid IMT is associated with the future stroke or cardiovascular events. In addition, in many clinical trials, it has been adopted for surrogate markers of clinical endpoints of medical intervention. Moreover, carotid ultrasonography allows the measurement of the presence and characteristics of plaques and the severity of carotid artery stenosis. The unstable morphology of plaque, such as hypoechoic, ulcer, and mobility, is associated with future ischemic stroke events. The screening tool of asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis is also important, although whether routine carotid ultrasonography assessment is recommended in the general population remains controversial. The screening of carotid artery stenosis using ultrasonography is essential for not only daily clinical settings but also management of patients with acute ischemic stroke. The patients with atherothrombotic stroke with severe internal carotid artery stenosis should be considered to surgical intervention, and duplex ultrasound approach is important to estimate for the severity of carotid stenosis. Physicians should keep in mind the usefulness of carotid ultrasonography for risk stratification of cerebral and cardiovascular disease based on various aspects. In addition, visual assessment or dynamic changes using carotid ultrasonography could provide the various and valuable insights in clinical settings.
Aim: Myostatin (Mstn) has been described as a trigger for the progression of atherosclerosis. In this study, we evaluated the role of Mstn in arterial remodeling in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Methods: Vascular specimens were collected from 16 ESRD patients (56.4±7.9 years) undergoing renal transplant (recipients) and 15 deceased kidney non-uremic donors (55.4±12.1 years). We studied gene and protein expression of Mstn, ubiquitin ligases, Atrogin-1, and muscle ring finger protein-1 (MuRF-1), inflammatory marker CCL2, cytoskeleton components, and Klotho by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Moreover, we assessed vascular calcification and collagen deposition. Finally, we studied the effects of recombinant Mstn on rat vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs, A7r5) and evaluated the effects of uremic serum (US) on primary human VSMCs.
Results: Myostatin mRNA was upregulated in the arterial vascular wall of recipients compared with donors (~15- folds, p＜0.05). This response was accompanied by the upregulation of gene expression of Atrogin-1 and MuRF-1 (＋2.5- and ＋10-fold) and CCL2 (＋3-fold). Conversely, we found downregulation of protein expression of Smoothelin, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), vimentin, and Klotho (-85%, -50%, -70%, and -80%, respectively; p＜0.05) and gene expression of vimentin and Klotho. Exposition of A7r5 to Mstn induced a time-dependent SMAD 2/SMAD 3 phosphorylation and expression of collagen-1 and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) mRNA, while US induced overexpression of Mstn and Atrogin-1 and downregulation of Smoothelin and Klotho.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that uremia might induce vascular Mstn gene expression together with a complex pathway of molecular and structural changes in the vascular wall. Myostatin, in turn, can translate the metabolic alterations of uremia into profibrotic and stiffness inducing signals.
Aim: An identification of the high-risk group of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) is important in the management of patients with diabetes. Metabolomics is a potential tool for the discovery of new biomarkers. With this background, we aimed to identify metabolites associated with atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Methods: A total of 176 patients with T2DM who have never had a CVD event and 40 who were survivors of coronary artery disease (CAD) events were enrolled. Non-targeted metabolome analysis of fasting plasma samples was performed using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC/MS) highly optimized for multiple measurement of blood samples. First, metabolites were screened by analyzing the association with the established markers of subclinical atherosclerosis (i.e., carotid maximal intima-media thickness (max-IMT) and flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD)) in the non-CVD subjects. Then, the associations between the metabolites detected and the history of CAD were investigated.
Result: A total of 65 annotated metabolites were detected. Non-parametric univariate analysis identified inositol and indoxyl sulfate as significantly (p＜0.05) associated with both max-IMT and FMD. These metabolites were also significantly associated with CAD. Moreover, inositol remained to be associated with CAD even after adjustments for traditional coronary risk factors.
Conclusions: We identified novel biomarker candidates for atherosclerosis in Japanese patients with T2DM using GC/MS-based non-targeted metabolomics.
Aims: To investigate the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and molecular interaction in unstable atherosclerotic carotid plaques.
Methods: Gene expression datasets GSE41571, GSE118481, and E-MTAB-2055 were analyzed. Co-regulated DEGs in at least two datasets were analyzed with the enrichment of Gene Ontology Biological Process (GO-BP), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), protein–protein interaction (PPI) networks, interrelationships between miRNAs/transcriptional factors, and their target genes and drug–gene interactions. The expression of notable DEGs in human carotid artery plaques and plasma was further identified.
Results: The GO-BP enrichment analysis revealed that genes associated with inflammatory response, and extracellular matrix organization were altered. The KEGG enrichment analysis revealed that upregulated DEGs were enriched in the tuberculous, lysosomal, and chemokine signaling pathways, whereas downregulated genes were enriched in the focal adhesion and PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Collagen type I alpha 2 chain (COL1A2), adenylate cyclase 3 (ADCY3), C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4), and TYRO protein tyrosine kinase binding protein (TYROBP) might play crucial roles in the PPI networks. In drug–gene interactions, colonystimulating factor-1 receptor had the most drug interactions. Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 6 (IGFBP6) was markedly downregulated in unstable human carotid plaques and plasma. Under a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, plasma IGFBP6 had a significant discriminatory power (AUC, 0.894; 95% CI, 0.810–0.977), with a cutoff value of 142.08 ng/mL.
Conclusions: The genes COL1A2, ADCY3, CXCR4, and TYROBP are promising targets for the prevention of unstable carotid plaque formation. IGFBP6 may be an important biomarker for predicting vulnerable plaques.
Aim: The association between urinary 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), an oxidative stress marker, and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has not been confirmed because no previous studies evaluated 24-hour 8-OHdG excretion levels in the general population. We aimed to confirm the association between 24-hour urinary 8-OHdG levels and CVD risk among Japanese men and women.
Methods: A nested case-control study was performed based on a 24-hour urine collection in a community-based cohort study performed from 1996 to 2005. Seventy-six cases (55 men and 21 women) who experienced their first CVD incidence during the follow-up period (median: 5.9 years) were recruited. The controls were frequency-matched 1:2, with each case for sex, age, area of residence, and baseline year. The 8-OHdG level was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using conditional logistic regression models adjusted for body mass index, ethanol intake, smoking status, and estimated glomerular filtration rate.
Results: The geometric mean and geometric standard deviation (SD) of 8-OHdG levels (nmol/day) for cases and controls were 35.5 (1.55) and 35.5 (1.54) for men and 32.1 (1.35) and 25.0 (1.39) for women, respectively. The multivariable OR (95% CI) of CVD incidence according to the 1-SD increment of the log-transformed 8-OHdG level was 2.08 (0.99–4.37) for women. The multivariable ORs (95% CIs) for the 1st (lowest) and 4th versus 2nd quartile according to 8-OHdG for men were 3.29 (1.02-10.61) and 2.77 (0.96–7.96), respectively.
Conclusion: A high 8-OHdG level tended to be associated with CVD incidence among women.
Aim: Accumulating evidence reveals that sedentary behavior is associated with mortality and cardiometabolic disease; however, there are potential age and sex differences in sedentary behavior and health outcomes that have not been adequately addressed. This study aimed to determine the association of sedentary behavior with cardiometabolic diseases such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and its risk factors in a large Japanese population according to age and sex.
Methods: Using data from the Japan Multi-Institutional Collaborative Cohort Study obtained from baseline surveys, data of 62,754 participants (27,930 males, 34,824 females) were analyzed. This study uses a cross-sectional design and self-administered questionnaires to evaluate sedentary time and anamnesis. For the logistic regression analysis, sedentary time ＜5 h/day was used as the reference and then adjusted for age, research areas, leisure-time metabolic equivalents, and alcohol and smoking status. From the analysis of anthropometric and blood examinations, 35,973 participants (17,109 males, 18,864 females) were analyzed.
Results: For hypertension and diabetes, sedentary time was associated with a significantly higher proportion of male participants. Both sexes were associated with a significantly higher proportion of participants with dyslipidemia. Participants who had longer sedentary time tended to have increased levels of blood pressure, triglycerides, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and decreased levels of HDL-C, especially in the 60–69 years group.
Conclusions: Independent of leisure-time physical activity, sedentary time was associated with cardiometabolic diseases in a large Japanese population classified by age and sex. Our findings indicate that regularly interrupting and replacing sedentary time may contribute to better physical health-related quality of life.
Aim: The association between small dense low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (sdLDL-C) levels and carotid intimal medial thickness (cIMT) progression has not been evaluated fully. We assessed specialized lipoproteins, including sdLDL-C, with regard to cIMT progression in a prospective observational study in Japan.
Methods: Plasma total cholesterol, direct LDL-C, sdLDL-C, LDL-triglycerides (LDL-TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), HDL2-C, HDL3-C, triglycerides, Lp(a), and adiponectin were measured in 2,030 men and women (median age 59 years, free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and off cholesterol lowering medication). At both baseline and after a five-year follow-up, cIMT was assessed. Univariate, multivariate regression, and least square analyses were performed to examine the relationships between direct LDL-C, sdLDL-C, and other lipoproteins with cIMT progression.
Results: The median cIMT at baseline was 0.63 mm and five-year progression was 0.18 mm. After adjustment for standard CVD risk factors, including age, gender, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL-C, smoking, diabetes, and hypertension treatment, only direct LDL-C, sdLDL-C, and the sdLDL-C/LDL-C ratio were associated with cIMT progression. Even in subjects with direct LDL-C ＜100 mg/dL, who were considered at low CVD risk, elevated sdLDL-C were associated with cIMT progression (P for trend=0.009) in a model with established CVD risk factors, although the sdLDL-C/LDL-C ratio did not. Those correlations did not change by including triglycerides as a controlling factor or excluding premenopausal women from the analyzed population.
Conclusions: Small dense LDL-C has a stronger relationship with cIMT progression than LDL-C does; therefore, measuring sdLDL-C may allow for the formulation of optimal therapy for CVD prevention.
Aim: Patients with acute infectious diseases are at an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Clinicians should be aware of the VTE risk in patients with COVID-19, many of whom present with severe coagulation disorders.
Method: We used an online platform to conduct a cross-sectional questionnaire survey among doctors in mainland China in March 2020. The questionnaire was designed to figure out the clinician's current awareness of VTE prevention and detection rates, as well as the current status of VTE prophylaxis in patients with COVID-19.
Results: We collected 1,636 replies, of which 1,579 were valid. Among these, 991 (63%) clinicians were involved directly in frontline treatment. Most of the clinicians (1,492, or 94%) thought it was necessary to assess the VTE risk in patients with COVID-19. However, only 234 (24%) clinicians performed appropriate assessment during the COVID-19 outbreak. For patients with mild/moderate COVID-19, 752 (76%) clinicians would prescribe exercise and water to prevent VTE. For patients with severe COVID-19, 448 (45%) clinicians would prescribe mechanical devices if the patient had a high bleeding risk, and 648 (65%) clinicians would choose LMWH as prophylaxis if the patient had a low bleeding risk. The VTE detection rate was not that high in both mild/moderate and severe patients.
Conclusion: Although most clinicians recommended prescribing VTE prophylaxis to patients with COVID-19, the practice still needs to be improved. A real-world registry to investigate the true incidence of VTE, and the effect of prescribing appropriate prophylaxis for patients with COVID-19, is necessary in the future.