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Preview: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology current issue

Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology current issue



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Platelet-Specific p38{alpha} Deficiency Improved Cardiac Function After Myocardial Infarction in MiceHighlights [Translational Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—MAPKs (mitogen-activated protein kinases), especially p38, play detrimental roles in cardiac diseases and cardiac remodeling post-myocardial infarction. However, the activation and function of MAPKs in coronary thrombosis in vivo and its relationship with clinical outcomes remain poorly understood.Approach and Results—Here, we showed that p38α was the major isoform expressed in human and mouse platelets. Platelet-specific p38α-deficient mice presented impaired thrombosis and hemostasis but had improved cardiac function, reduced infarct size, decreased inflammatory response, and microthrombus in a left anterior descending artery ligation model. Signaling analysis revealed that p38 activation was one of the earliest events in platelets after treatment with receptor agonists or reactive oxygen species. p38α/MAPK-activated protein kinase 2/heat shock protein 27 and p38α/cytosolic phospholipases A2 were the major pathways regulating receptor-mediated or hydrogen peroxide-induced platelet activation in an ischemic environment. Moreover, the distinct roles of ERK1/2 (extracellular signal–regulated kinase) in receptor- or reactive oxygen species-induced p38-mediated platelet activation reflected the complicated synergistic relationships among MAPKs. Analysis of clinical samples revealed that MAPKs were highly phosphorylated in platelets from preoperative patients with ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction, and increased phosphorylation of p38 was associated with no-reflow outcomes.Conclusions—We conclude that p38α serves as a critical regulator of platelet activation and potential indicator of highly thrombotic lesions and no-reflow, and inhibition of platelet p38α may improve clinical outcomes in subjects with ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction.












Local Hemodynamic Forces After StentingHighlights [Brief Reviews]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Local hemodynamic forces are well-known to modulate atherosclerotic evolution, which remains one of the largest cause of death worldwide. Percutaneous coronary interventions with stent implantation restores blood flow to the downstream myocardium and is only limited by stent failure caused by restenosis, stent thrombosis, or neoatherosclerosis. Cumulative evidence has shown that local hemodynamic forces affect restenosis and the platelet activation process, modulating the pathophysiological mechanisms that lead to stent failure. This article first covers the pathophysiological mechanisms through which wall shear stress regulates arterial disease formation/neointima proliferation and the role of shear rate on stent thrombosis. Subsequently, the article reviews the current evidence on (1) the implications of stent design on the local hemodynamic forces, and (2) how stent/scaffold expansion can influence local flow, thereby affecting the risk of adverse events.



Understanding Chylomicron Retention Disease Through Sar1b Gtpase Gene DisruptionHighlights [Basic Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Background—Understanding the specific mechanisms of rare autosomal disorders has greatly expanded insights into the complex processes regulating intestinal fat transport. Sar1B GTPase is one of the critical proteins governing chylomicron secretion by the small intestine, and its mutations lead to chylomicron retention disease, despite the presence of Sar1A paralog.Objective—The central aim of this work is to examine the cause–effect relationship between Sar1B expression and chylomicron output and to determine whether Sar1B is obligatory for normal high-density lipoprotein biogenesis.Approach and Results—The SAR1B gene was totally silenced in Caco-2/15 cells using the zinc finger nuclease technique. SAR1B deletion resulted in significantly decreased secretion of triglycerides (≈40%), apolipoprotein B-48 (≈57%), and chylomicron (≈34.5%). The absence of expected chylomicron production collapse may be because of the compensatory SAR1A elevation observed in our experiments. Therefore, a double knockout of SAR1A and SAR1B was engineered in Caco-2/15 cells, which led to almost complete inhibition of triglycerides, apolipoprotein B-48, and chylomicron output. Further experiments with labeled cholesterol revealed the downregulation of high-density lipoprotein biogenesis in cells deficient in SAR1B or with the double knockout of the 2 SAR1 paralogs. Similarly, there was a fall in the movement of labeled cholesterol from cells to basolateral medium containing apolipoprotein A-I, thereby limiting newly synthesized high-density lipoprotein in genetically modified cells. The decreased cholesterol efflux was associated with impaired expression of ABCA1 (ATP-binding cassette subfamily A member 1).Conclusions—These findings demonstrate that the deletion of the 2 SAR1 isoforms is required to fully eliminate the secretion of chylomicron in vitro. They also underscore the limited high-density lipoprotein production by the intestinal cells in response to SAR1 knockout.



GLP-1 Elicits an Intrinsic Gut-Liver Metabolic Signal to Ameliorate Diet-Induced VLDL Overproduction and Insulin ResistanceHighlights [Basic Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Perturbations in hepatic lipid and very-low–density lipoprotein (VLDL) metabolism are involved in the pathogenesis of obesity and hepatic insulin resistance. The objective of this study is to delineate the mechanism of subdiaphragmatic vagotomy in preventing obesity, hyperlipidemia, and insulin resistance.Approach and Results—By subjecting the complete subdiaphragmatic vagotomized mice to various nutritional conditions and investigating hepatic de novo lipogenesis pathway, we found that complete disruption of subdiaphragmatic vagal signaling resulted in a significant decrease of circulating VLDL–triglyceride compared with the mice obtained sham procedure. Vagotomy further prevented overproduction of VLDL–triglyceride induced by an acute fat load and a high-fat diet–induced obesity, hyperlipidemia, hepatic steatosis, and glucose intolerance. Mechanistic studies revealed that plasma glucagon-like peptide-1 was significantly raised in the vagotomized mice, which was associated with significant reductions in mRNA and protein expression of SREBP-1c (sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c), SCD-1 (stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1), and FASN (fatty acid synthase), as well as enhanced hepatic insulin sensitivity. In vitro, treating mouse primary hepatocytes with a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, exendin-4, for 48 hours inhibited free fatty acid, palmitic acid treatment induced de novo lipid synthesis, and VLDL secretion from hepatocytes.Conclusions—Elevation of glucagon-like peptide-1 in vagotomized mice may prevent VLDL overproduction and insulin resistance induced by high-fat diet. These novel findings, for the first time, delineate an intrinsic gut–liver regulatory circuit that is mediated by glucagon-like peptide-1 in regulating hepatic energy metabolism.



ABCA1-Derived Nascent High-Density Lipoprotein-Apolipoprotein AI and Lipids Metabolically SegregateHighlights [Basic Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Reverse cholesterol transport comprises cholesterol efflux from ABCA1-expressing macrophages to apolipoprotein (apo) AI, giving nascent high-density lipoprotein (nHDL), esterification of nHDL-free cholesterol (FC), selective hepatic extraction of HDL lipids, and hepatic conversion of HDL cholesterol to bile salts, which are excreted. We tested this model by identifying the fates of nHDL-[3H]FC, [14C] phospholipid (PL), and [125I]apo AI in serum in vitro and in vivo.Approach and Results—During in vitro incubation of human serum, nHDL-[3H]FC and [14C]PL rapidly transfer to HDL and low-density lipoproteins (t1/2=2–7 minutes), whereas nHDL-[125I]apo AI transfers solely to HDL (t1/2<10 minutes) and to the lipid-free form (t1/2>480 minutes). After injection into mice, nHDL-[3H]FC and [14C]PL rapidly transfer to liver (t1/2=≈2–3 minutes), whereas apo AI clears with t1/2=≈460 minutes. The plasma nHDL-[3H]FC esterification rate is slow (0.46%/h) compared with hepatic uptake. PL transfer protein enhances nHDL-[14C]PL but not nHDL-[3H]FC transfer to cultured Huh7 hepatocytes.Conclusions—nHDL-FC, PL, and apo AI enter different pathways in vivo. Most nHDL-[3H]FC and [14C]PL are rapidly extracted by the liver via SR-B1 (scavenger receptor class B member 1) and spontaneous transfer; hepatic PL uptake is promoted by PL transfer protein. nHDL-[125I]apo AI transfers to HDL and to the lipid-free form that can be recycled to nHDL formation. Cholesterol esterification by lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase is a minor process in nHDL metabolism. These findings could guide the design of therapies that better mobilize peripheral tissue-FC to hepatic disposal.



Refrigeration-Induced Binding of von Willebrand Factor Facilitates Fast Clearance of Refrigerated PlateletsHighlights [Basic Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Apheresis platelets for transfusion treatment are currently stored at room temperature because after refrigeration platelets are rapidly cleared on transfusion. In this study, the role of von Willebrand factor (VWF) in the clearance of refrigerated platelets is addressed.Approach and Results—Human and murine platelets were refrigerated in gas-permeable bags at 4°C for 24 hours. VWF binding, platelet signaling events, and platelet post-transfusion recovery and survival were measured. After refrigeration, the binding of plasma VWF to platelets was drastically increased, confirming earlier studies. The binding was blocked by peptide OS1 that bound specifically to platelet glycoprotein (GP)Ibα and was absent in VWF−/− plasma. Although surface expression of GPIbα was reduced after refrigeration, refrigeration-induced VWF binding under physiological shear induced unfolding of the GPIbα mechanosensory domain on the platelet, as evidenced by increased exposure of a linear epitope therein. Refrigeration and shear treatment also induced small elevation of intracellular Ca2+, phosphatidylserine exposure, and desialylation of platelets, which were absent in VWF−/− platelets or inhibited by OS1, which is a monomeric 11-residue peptide (CTERMALHNLC). Furthermore, refrigerated VWF−/− platelets displayed increased post-transfusion recovery and survival than wild-type ones. Similarly, adding OS1 to transgenic murine platelets expressing only human GPIbα during refrigeration improved their post-transfusion recovery and survival.Conclusions—Refrigeration-induced binding of VWF to platelets facilitates their rapid clearance by inducing GPIbα-mediated signaling. Our results suggest that inhibition of the VWF–GPIbα interaction may be a potential strategy to enable refrigeration of platelets for transfusion treatment.



NO Augments Endothelial Reactivity by Reducing Myoendothelial Calcium Signal SpreadingHighlights [Basic Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Because of its strategic position between endothelial and smooth muscle cells in microvessels, Cx37 (Connexin 37) plays an important role in myoendothelial gap junctional intercellular communication. We have shown before that NO inhibits gap junctional intercellular communication through gap junctions containing Cx37. However, the underlying mechanism is not yet identified.Approach and Results—Using channel-forming Cx37 mutants exhibiting partial deletions or amino acid exchanges in their C-terminal loops, we now show that the phosphorylation state of a tyrosine residue at position 332 (Y332) in the C-terminus of Cx37 controls the gap junction–dependent spread of calcium signals. Mass spectra revealed that NO protects Cx37 from dephosphorylation at Y332 by inhibition of the protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP-2. Functionally, the inhibition of gap junctional intercellular communication by NO decreased the spread of the calcium signal (induced by mechanical stimulation of individual endothelial cells) from endothelial to smooth muscle cells in intact vessels, while, at the same time, augmenting the calcium signal spreading within the endothelium. Consequently, preincubation of small resistance arteries with exogenous NO enhanced the endothelium-dependent dilator response to acetylcholine in spite of a pharmacological blockade of NO-dependent cGMP formation by the soluable guanylyl cyclase inhibitor ODQ (1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one).Conclusions—Our results identify a novel mechanism by which NO can increase the efficacy of calcium, rising vasoactive agonists in the microvascular endothelium.



Deletion of AT2 Receptor Prevents SHP-1-Induced VEGF Inhibition and Improves Blood Flow Reperfusion in Diabetic Ischemic HindlimbHighlights [Basic Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Ischemia caused by narrowing of femoral artery is a major cause of peripheral arterial disease and morbidity affecting patients with diabetes mellitus. We have previously reported that the inhibition of the angiogenic response to VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) in diabetic mice was associated with the increased expression of SHP-1 (SH2 domain–containing phosphatase 1), a protein that can be activated by the AT2 (angiotensin II type 2) receptor. Deletion of AT2 receptor has been shown to promote angiogenesis within the ischemic muscle. However, the relative impact of AT2 receptor in diabetic condition remains unknown.Approach and Results—Nondiabetic and diabetic AT2 null (Atgr2−/Y) mice underwent femoral artery ligation after 2 months of diabetes mellitus. Blood perfusion was measured every week ≤4 weeks post-surgery. Expression of the VEGF, SHP-1, and renin–angiotensin pathways was evaluated. Blood flow in the ischemic muscle of diabetic Atgr2−/Y mice recovered faster and ≤80% after 4 weeks compared with 51% recovery in diabetic control littermates. Diabetic Atgr2−/Y had reduced apoptotic endothelial cells and elevated small vessel formation compared with diabetic Atgr2+/Y mice, as well as increased SHP-1 expression and reduced VEGF receptor activity. In endothelial cells, high glucose levels and AT2 agonist treatment did not change SHP-1, VEGF, and VEGF receptor expression. However, the activity of SHP-1 and its association with the VEGF receptors were increased, causing inhibition of the VEGF action in endothelial cell proliferation and migration.Conclusions—Our results suggest that the deletion of AT2 receptor reduced SHP-1 activity and restored VEGF actions, leading to an increased blood flow reperfusion after ischemia in diabetes mellitus.



FGD5 Regulates VEGF Receptor-2 Coupling to PI3 Kinase and Receptor RecyclingHighlights [Basic Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor-A) signaling to the endothelial cell (EC) through VEGFR2 (VEGF receptor-2) is the principal cue driving new blood vessel formation. FGD5 (faciogenital dysplasia-5)—a Rho-family guanine nucleotide exchange factor—is selectively expressed in EC. Deficiency of FGD5 is embryonically lethal in mice and perturbs angiogenesis and VEGF signal transduction. However, the mechanism of FGD5 regulation of VEGF signaling is poorly understood.Approach and Results—Angiogenic sprouting and EC cytoskeletal remodeling were evaluated in a 3-dimensional in vitro model. We examined the subcellular localization of FGD5 and VEGFR2 in EC by immunofluorescent staining and studied the association by immunoprecipitation. FGD5 deficiency reduced the number of angiogenic sprouts and tip cell filopodia by ≈80% and ≈70%, respectively. These defects were accompanied by downregulation of the expression of tip cell-specific markers. FGD5 inactivation led to a decrease in EC migration and early protrusion (lamellipodia) formation. In resting and VEGF-stimulated EC, FGD5 forms a complex with VEGFR2 and was enriched at the leading edge of the cell and among endosomes. FGD5 loss reduced mTORC2 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex-2)/Akt-dependent cortactin activation downstream of VEGFR2 but did not alter VEGFR2 plasma membrane expression, Y1175 phosphorylation, or endocytosis. However, FGD5 loss decreased endosomal VEGFR2 coupling to phosphoinositide-3 kinase and diverted VEGFR2 to lysosomal degradation.Conclusions—FGD5 regulates VEGFR2 retention in recycling endosomes and coupling to PI3 (phosphoinositide-3) kinase/mTORC2-dependent cytoskeletal remodeling.



Opposing Actions of AKT (Protein Kinase B) Isoforms in Vascular Smooth Muscle Injury and Therapeutic ResponseHighlights [Basic Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Drug-eluting stent delivery of mTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1) inhibitors is highly effective in preventing intimal hyperplasia after coronary revascularization, but adverse effects limit their use for systemic vascular disease. Understanding the mechanism of action may lead to new treatment strategies. We have shown that rapamycin promotes vascular smooth muscle cell differentiation in an AKT2-dependent manner in vitro. Here, we investigate the roles of AKT (protein kinase B) isoforms in intimal hyperplasia.Approach and Results—We found that germ-line–specific or smooth muscle–specific deletion of Akt2 resulted in more severe intimal hyperplasia compared with control mice after arterial denudation injury. Conversely, smooth muscle–specific Akt1 knockout prevented intimal hyperplasia, whereas germ-line Akt1 deletion caused severe thrombosis. Notably, rapamycin prevented intimal hyperplasia in wild-type mice but had no therapeutic benefit in Akt2 knockouts. We identified opposing roles for AKT1 and AKT2 isoforms in smooth muscle cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and rapamycin response in vitro. Mechanistically, rapamycin induced MYOCD (myocardin) mRNA expression. This was mediated by AKT2 phosphorylation and nuclear exclusion of FOXO4 (forkhead box O4), inhibiting its binding to the MYOCD promoter.Conclusions—Our data reveal opposing roles for AKT isoforms in smooth muscle cell remodeling. AKT2 is required for rapamycin’s therapeutic inhibition of intimal hyperplasia, likely mediated in part through AKT2-specific regulation of MYOCD via FOXO4. Because AKT2 signaling is impaired in diabetes mellitus, this work has important implications for rapamycin therapy, particularly in diabetic patients.



Mitochondrial Respiration Is Reduced in Atherosclerosis, Promoting Necrotic Core Formation and Reducing Relative Fibrous Cap ThicknessHighlights [Translational Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage is present in murine and human atherosclerotic plaques. However, whether endogenous levels of mtDNA damage are sufficient to cause mitochondrial dysfunction and whether decreasing mtDNA damage and improving mitochondrial respiration affects plaque burden or composition are unclear. We examined mitochondrial respiration in human atherosclerotic plaques and whether augmenting mitochondrial respiration affects atherogenesis.Approach and Results—Human atherosclerotic plaques showed marked mitochondrial dysfunction, manifested as reduced mtDNA copy number and oxygen consumption rate in fibrous cap and core regions. Vascular smooth muscle cells derived from plaques showed impaired mitochondrial respiration, reduced complex I expression, and increased mitophagy, which was induced by oxidized low-density lipoprotein. Apolipoprotein E–deficient (ApoE−/−) mice showed decreased mtDNA integrity and mitochondrial respiration, associated with increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species. To determine whether alleviating mtDNA damage and increasing mitochondrial respiration affects atherogenesis, we studied ApoE−/− mice overexpressing the mitochondrial helicase Twinkle (Tw+/ApoE−/−). Tw+/ApoE−/− mice showed increased mtDNA integrity, copy number, respiratory complex abundance, and respiration. Tw+/ApoE−/− mice had decreased necrotic core and increased fibrous cap areas, and Tw+/ApoE−/− bone marrow transplantation also reduced core areas. Twinkle increased vascular smooth muscle cell mtDNA integrity and respiration. Twinkle also promoted vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and protected both vascular smooth muscle cells and macrophages from oxidative stress–induced apoptosis.Conclusions—Endogenous mtDNA damage in mouse and human atherosclerosis is associated with significantly reduced mitochondrial respiration. Reducing mtDNA damage and increasing mitochondrial respiration decrease necrotic core and increase fibrous cap areas independently of changes in reactive oxygen species and may be a promising therapeutic strategy in atherosclerosis.



Reduction of In-Stent Restenosis by Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein InhibitionHighlights [Translational Sciences]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Angioplasty and stent implantation, the most common treatment for atherosclerotic lesions, have a significant failure rate because of restenosis. This study asks whether increasing plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels by inhibiting cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity with the anacetrapib analog, des-fluoro-anacetrapib, prevents stent-induced neointimal hyperplasia.Approach and Results—New Zealand White rabbits received normal chow or chow supplemented with 0.14% (wt/wt) des-fluoro-anacetrapib for 6 weeks. Iliac artery endothelial denudation and bare metal steel stent deployment were performed after 2 weeks of des-fluoro-anacetrapib treatment. The animals were euthanized 4 weeks poststent deployment. Relative to control, dietary supplementation with des-fluoro-anacetrapib reduced plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity and increased plasma apolipoprotein A-I and HDL cholesterol levels by 53±6.3% and 120±19%, respectively. Non-HDL cholesterol levels were unaffected. Des-fluoro-anacetrapib treatment reduced the intimal area of the stented arteries by 43±5.6% (P<0.001), the media area was unchanged, and the arterial lumen area increased by 12±2.4% (P<0.05). Des-fluoro-anacetrapib treatment inhibited vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation by 41±4.5% (P<0.001). Incubation of isolated HDLs from des-fluoro-anacetrapib–treated animals with human aortic smooth muscle cells at apolipoprotein A-I concentrations comparable to their plasma levels inhibited cell proliferation and migration. These effects were dependent on scavenger receptor-B1, the adaptor protein PDZ domain-containing protein 1, and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt activation. HDLs from des-fluoro-anacetrapib–treated animals also inhibited proinflammatory cytokine-induced human aortic smooth muscle cell proliferation and stent-induced vascular inflammation.Conclusions—Inhibiting cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity in New Zealand White rabbits with iliac artery balloon injury and stent deployment increases HDL levels, inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, and reduces neointimal hyperplasia in an scavenger receptor-B1, PDZ domain-containing protein 1– and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt-dependent manner.



Impact of CD14 Polymorphisms on Anti-Apolipoprotein A-1 IgG-Related Coronary Artery Disease Prediction in the General PopulationHighlights [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—We aimed to determine whether autoantibodies against apoA-1 (apolipoprotein A-1; anti-apoA-1 IgG) predict incident coronary artery disease (CAD), defined as adjudicated incident myocardial infarction, angina, percutaneous coronary revascularization, or bypass grafting, in the general population. We further investigated whether this association is modulated by a functional CD14 receptor single nucleotide polymorphism.Approach and Results—In a prospectively studied, population-based cohort of 5220 subjects (mean age 52.6±10.7 years, 47.4% males), followed over a median period of 5.6 years, subjects positive versus negative for anti-apoA-1 IgG presented a total CAD rate of 3.9% versus 2.8% (P=0.077) and a nonfatal CAD rate of 3.6% versus 2.3% (P=0.018), respectively. After multivariate adjustment for established cardiovascular risk factors, the hazard ratios of anti-apoA-1 IgG for total and nonfatal CAD were: hazard ratio=1.36 (95% confidence interval, 0.94–1.97; P=0.105) and hazard ratio=1.53 (95% confidence interval, 1.03–2.26; P=0.034), respectively. In subjects with available genetic data for the C260T rs2569190 single nucleotide polymorphism in the CD14 receptor gene (n=4247), we observed a significant interaction between anti-apoA-1 IgG and rs2569190 allele status with regards to CAD risk, with anti-apoA-1 IgG conferring the highest risk for total and nonfatal CAD in non-TT carriers, whereas being associated with the lowest risk for total and nonfatal CAD in TT homozygotes (P for interaction =0.011 and P for interaction =0.033, respectively).Conclusions—Anti-apoA-1 IgG are independent predictors of nonfatal incident CAD in the general population. The strength of this association is dependent on a functional polymorphism of the CD14 receptor gene, a finding suggesting a gene–autoantibody interaction for the development of CAD.



Coronary Artery Ectasia Predicts Future Cardiac Events in Patients With Acute Myocardial InfarctionHighlights [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Coronary artery ectasia (CAE) is an infrequently observed vascular phenotype characterized by abnormal vessel dilatation and disturbed coronary flow, which potentially promote thrombogenicity and inflammatory reactions. However, whether or not CAE influences cardiovascular outcomes remains unknown.Approach and Results—We investigated major adverse cardiac events (MACE; defined as cardiac death and nonfatal myocardial infarction [MI]) in 1698 patients with acute MI. The occurrence of MACE was compared in patients with and without CAE. CAE was identified in 3.0% of study subjects. During the 49-month observation period, CAE was associated with 3.25-, 2.71-, and 4.92-fold greater likelihoods of experiencing MACE (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.88–5.66; P<0.001), cardiac death (95% CI, 1.37–5.37; P=0.004), and nonfatal MI (95% CI, 2.20–11.0; P<0.001), respectively. These cardiac risks of CAE were consistently observed in a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model (MACE: hazard ratio, 4.94; 95% CI, 2.36–10.4; P<0.001) and in a propensity score–matched cohort (MACE: hazard ratio, 8.98; 95% CI, 1.14–71.0; P=0.03). Despite having a higher risk of CAE-related cardiac events, patients with CAE receiving anticoagulation therapy who achieved an optimal percent time in target therapeutic range, defined as ≥60%, did not experience the occurrence of MACE (P=0.03 versus patients with percent time in target therapeutic range <60% or without anticoagulation therapy).Conclusions—The presence of CAE predicted future cardiac events in patients with acute MI. Our findings suggest that acute MI patients with CAE are a high-risk subset who might benefit from a pharmacological approach to controlling the coagulation cascade.



Relationship Between Total Serum Bilirubin Levels and Carotid and Femoral Atherosclerosis in Familial DyslipidemiaHighlights [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Bilirubin is a potent antioxidant that has been inversely related to cardiovascular disease. There is little information on serum total bilirubin (TB) in relation to atherosclerosis in familial dyslipidemia. We assessed the association between TB and carotid and femoral atherosclerosis in this high-risk group.Approach and Results—We evaluated 464 individuals with familial dyslipidemia (56% men; median age, 48 years), 322 with familial hypercholesterolemia, and 142 with familial combined hyperlipidemia. Carotid and femoral arteries were imaged bilaterally with a standardized ultrasonographic protocol. Mean and maximum intima-media thickness and plaque presence (≥1.2 mm) and height were recorded. Cross-sectional associations between TB and atherosclerosis variables were investigated in multivariable-adjusted models, including lipid values and hypolipidemic drug use. Inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, total leukocyte count, and lipoprotein[a]) were also determined. Increasing TB levels were associated with decreasing intima-media thickness of all carotid segments (P<0.05, all). TB also related to carotid plaque, present in 78% of individuals, and to plaque burden (≥3 plaques), with odds ratios (95% confidence interval) 0.59 (0.36–0.98) and 0.57 (0.34–0.96) for each increase of 0.5 mg in TB, respectively. Findings were confirmed in a validation cohort of 177 subjects with nonfamilial dyslipidemia. Only the familial combined hyperlipidemia group, with higher inflammation-related markers, showed an inverse association between TB and femoral plaque height (β=−0.183; P=0.030).Conclusions—TB was inversely and independently associated with carotid plaque burden in familial and nonfamilial dyslipidemia. These findings support the use of TB as a biomarker of atherosclerosis in this high-risk group.



Endogenous Cholesterol Excretion Is Negatively Associated With Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in HumansHighlights [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Epidemiological studies strongly suggest that lipid factors independent of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol contribute significantly to cardiovascular disease risk. Because circulating lipoproteins comprise only a small fraction of total body cholesterol, the mobilization and excretion of cholesterol from plasma and tissue pools may be an important determinant of cardiovascular disease risk. Our hypothesis is that fecal excretion of endogenous cholesterol is protective against atherosclerosis.Approach and Results—Cholesterol metabolism and carotid intima–media thickness were quantitated in 86 nondiabetic adults. Plasma cholesterol was labeled by intravenous infusion of cholesterol-d7 solubilized in a lipid emulsion and dietary cholesterol by cholesterol-d5 and the nonabsorbable stool marker sitostanol-d4. Plasma and stool samples were collected while subjects consumed a cholesterol- and phytosterol-controlled metabolic kitchen diet and were analyzed by mass spectrometry. Carotid intima–media thickness was negatively correlated with fecal excretion of endogenous cholesterol (r=−0.426; P<0.0001), total cholesterol (r=−0.472; P≤0.0001), and daily percent excretion of cholesterol from the rapidly mixing cholesterol pool (r=−0.343; P=0.0012) and was positively correlated with percent cholesterol absorption (r=+0.279; P=0.0092). In a linear regression model controlling for age, sex, systolic blood pressure, hemoglobin A1c, low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and statin drug use, fecal excretion of endogenous cholesterol remained significant (P=0.0008).Conclusions—Excretion of endogenous cholesterol is strongly, independently, and negatively associated with carotid intima–media thickness. The reverse cholesterol transport pathway comprising the intestine and the rapidly mixing plasma, and tissue cholesterol pool could be an unrecognized determinant of cardiovascular disease risk not reflected in circulating lipoproteins. Further work is needed to relate measures of reverse cholesterol transport to atherosclerotic disease.Clinical Trial Registration—URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01603758.



Intermuscular Adipose Tissue and Subclinical Coronary Artery Calcification in MidlifeHighlights [Clinical and Population Studies]

2017-11-21T10:40:43-08:00

Objective—Excess deposition of fat within and around vital organs and nonadipose tissues is hypothesized to contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. We evaluated the association of abdominal intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT) volume with coronary artery calcification in the CARDIA study (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) participants.Approach and Results—We measured IMAT in the abdominal muscles, visceral adipose tissue and pericardial adipose tissue, and coronary artery calcification using computed tomography in 3051 CARDIA participants (56% women) at the CARDIA year 25 examination (2010–2011). Mean IMAT volume and mean IMAT/total muscle volume (IMAT normalized for muscle size) were calculated in a 10-mm block of slices centered at L3–L4. Multivariable analyses included potential confounders and traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors. Compared with the lowest quartile, the upper quartile of abdominal IMAT volume was associated with higher coronary artery calcification prevalence (odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 1.6 [1.2–2.1]) after adjusting for cardiovascular disease risk factors. Results were similar for highest versus lowest quartile of IMAT normalized to total muscle volume (odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 1.5 [1.1–2.0]). Significant associations of higher IMAT and normalized IMAT with coronary artery calcification prevalence persisted when body mass index, visceral adipose tissue, or pericardial adipose tissue were added to the models.Conclusions—In a large, community-based, cross-sectional study, we found that higher abdominal skeletal muscle adipose tissue volume was associated with subclinical atherosclerosis independent of traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors and other adipose depots.