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Concept: Atheroma


Background Both genetic and lifestyle factors contribute to individual-level risk of coronary artery disease. The extent to which increased genetic risk can be offset by a healthy lifestyle is unknown. Methods Using a polygenic score of DNA sequence polymorphisms, we quantified genetic risk for coronary artery disease in three prospective cohorts - 7814 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, 21,222 in the Women’s Genome Health Study (WGHS), and 22,389 in the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study (MDCS) - and in 4260 participants in the cross-sectional BioImage Study for whom genotype and covariate data were available. We also determined adherence to a healthy lifestyle among the participants using a scoring system consisting of four factors: no current smoking, no obesity, regular physical activity, and a healthy diet. Results The relative risk of incident coronary events was 91% higher among participants at high genetic risk (top quintile of polygenic scores) than among those at low genetic risk (bottom quintile of polygenic scores) (hazard ratio, 1.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.75 to 2.09). A favorable lifestyle (defined as at least three of the four healthy lifestyle factors) was associated with a substantially lower risk of coronary events than an unfavorable lifestyle (defined as no or only one healthy lifestyle factor), regardless of the genetic risk category. Among participants at high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle was associated with a 46% lower relative risk of coronary events than an unfavorable lifestyle (hazard ratio, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.63). This finding corresponded to a reduction in the standardized 10-year incidence of coronary events from 10.7% for an unfavorable lifestyle to 5.1% for a favorable lifestyle in ARIC, from 4.6% to 2.0% in WGHS, and from 8.2% to 5.3% in MDCS. In the BioImage Study, a favorable lifestyle was associated with significantly less coronary-artery calcification within each genetic risk category. Conclusions Across four studies involving 55,685 participants, genetic and lifestyle factors were independently associated with susceptibility to coronary artery disease. Among participants at high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle was associated with a nearly 50% lower relative risk of coronary artery disease than was an unfavorable lifestyle. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).

Concepts: Genetics, Epidemiology, Nutrition, Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Coronary artery disease, Atheroma, Artery


It is well known that total cholesterol becomes less of a risk factor or not at all for all-cause and cardiovascular (CV) mortality with increasing age, but as little is known as to whether low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), one component of total cholesterol, is associated with mortality in the elderly, we decided to investigate this issue.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Atheroma, Niacin


Background Evolocumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 (PCSK9) and lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by approximately 60%. Whether it prevents cardiovascular events is uncertain. Methods We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 27,564 patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and LDL cholesterol levels of 70 mg per deciliter (1.8 mmol per liter) or higher who were receiving statin therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to receive evolocumab (either 140 mg every 2 weeks or 420 mg monthly) or matching placebo as subcutaneous injections. The primary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke, hospitalization for unstable angina, or coronary revascularization. The key secondary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke. The median duration of follow-up was 2.2 years. Results At 48 weeks, the least-squares mean percentage reduction in LDL cholesterol levels with evolocumab, as compared with placebo, was 59%, from a median baseline value of 92 mg per deciliter (2.4 mmol per liter) to 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) (P<0.001). Relative to placebo, evolocumab treatment significantly reduced the risk of the primary end point (1344 patients [9.8%] vs. 1563 patients [11.3%]; hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 0.92; P<0.001) and the key secondary end point (816 [5.9%] vs. 1013 [7.4%]; hazard ratio, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.88; P<0.001). The results were consistent across key subgroups, including the subgroup of patients in the lowest quartile for baseline LDL cholesterol levels (median, 74 mg per deciliter [1.9 mmol per liter]). There was no significant difference between the study groups with regard to adverse events (including new-onset diabetes and neurocognitive events), with the exception of injection-site reactions, which were more common with evolocumab (2.1% vs. 1.6%). Conclusions In our trial, inhibition of PCSK9 with evolocumab on a background of statin therapy lowered LDL cholesterol levels to a median of 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) and reduced the risk of cardiovascular events. These findings show that patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease benefit from lowering of LDL cholesterol levels below current targets. (Funded by Amgen; FOURIER number, NCT01764633 .).

Concepts: Cholesterol, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Statin, Atheroma, Apolipoprotein B


Abstract Objective. This study aimed to investigate the association of lipoprotein and triglyceride levels with all-cause mortality in a population free from diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) at baseline. The European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention state that in general total cholesterol (TC) should be < 5 mmol/L (190 mg/dL) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) should be < 3 mmol/L (115 mg/dL). Design. A population-based register study in the period 1999-2007 including 118 160 subjects aged 50 + without statin use at baseline. All-cause mortality was related to lipoprotein and triglyceride levels and adjusted for statin use after inclusion. Results. All-cause mortality was lower in the groups with TC or LDL-C above the recommended levels. Compared with subjects with TC < 5 mmol/L, adjusted hazard ratios for the group aged 60-70 years ranged from 0.68 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61-0.77) for TC 5-5.99 mmol/L to 0.67 (95% CI 0.59-0.75) for TC 6-7.99 mmol/L and 1.02 (95% CI 0.68-1.53) for TC ≥ 8 mmol/L in males and from 0.57 (95% CI 0.48-0.67) to 0.59 (95% CI 0.50-0.68) and 1.02 (95% CI: 0.77-1.37) in females. For triglycerides, ratios compared with the group < 1 mmol/L in the females aged 60-70 years ranged from 1.04 (95% CI 0.88-1.23) to 1.35 (95% CI 1.10-1.66) and 1.25 (95% CI 1.05-1.48) for triglycerides 1-1.39 mmol/L, 1.4-1.69 mmol/L, and ≥ 1.7 mmol/L, respectively. Statin treatment after inclusion provided a survival benefit. Conclusion. These associations indicate that high lipoprotein levels do not seem to be definitely harmful in the general population. However, high triglyceride levels in females are associated with decreased survival.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Statin, Atheroma, Triglyceride


Hypercholesterolemia plays a critical role in atherosclerosis. CD34+ CD45dim Lineage- hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) give rise to the inflammatory cells linked to atherosclerosis. In mice, high cholesterol levels mobilize HSPCs into the bloodstream, and promote their differentiation to granulocytes and monocytes. The objective of our study was to determine how cholesterol levels affect HSPC quantity in humans.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Inflammation, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Familial hypercholesterolemia, Low-density lipoprotein, Atheroma, Hypercholesterolemia


BACKGROUND: Global demographic changes have stimulated marked interest in the process of ageing. There has been, and will continue to be, an unrelenting rise in the number of the oldest old ( >85 years of age). Together with an ageing population there comes an increase in the prevalence of age related disease. Of the diseases of ageing, cardiovascular disease (CVD) has by far the highest prevalence. It is regarded that a finely tuned lipid profile may help to prevent CVD as there is a long established relationship between alterations to lipid metabolism and CVD risk. In fact elevated plasma cholesterol, particularly Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL-C) has consistently stood out as a risk factor for having a cardiovascular event. Moreover it is widely acknowledged that LDL-C may rise with age in both sexes in a wide variety of groups. The aim of this work was to use a whole-body mathematical model to investigate why LDL-C rises with age, and to test the hypothesis that mechanistic changes to cholesterol absorption and LDL-C removal from the plasma are responsible for the rise. The whole-body mechanistic nature of the model differs from previous models of cholesterol metabolism which have either focused on intracellular cholesterol homeostasis or have concentrated on an isolated area of lipoprotein dynamics. The model integrates both current and previously published data relating to molecular biology, physiology, ageing and nutrition in an integrated fashion. RESULTS: The model was used to test the hypothesis that alterations to the rate of cholesterol absorption and changes to the rate of removal of LDL-C from the plasma are integral to understanding why LDL-C rises with age. The model demonstrates that increasing the rate of intestinal cholesterol absorption from 50% to 80% by age 65 years can result in an increase of LDL-C by as much as 34mg/dL in a hypothetical male subject. The model also shows that decreasing the rate of hepatic clearance of LDL-C gradually to 50% by age 65 years can result in an increase of LDL-C by as much as 116mg/dL. CONCLUSIONS: Our model clearly demonstrates that of the two putative mechanisms that have been implicated in the dysregulation of cholesterol metabolism with age, alterations to the removal rate of plasma LDL-C has the most significant impact on cholesterol metabolism and small changes to the number of hepatic LDL receptors can result in a significant rise in LDL-C. This first whole-body systems based model of cholesterol balance could potentially be used as a tool to further improve our understanding of whole-body cholesterol metabolism and its dysregulation with age. Furthermore, given further fine tuning the model may help to investigate potential dietary and lifestyle regimes that have the potential to mitigate the effects aging has on cholesterol metabolism.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Nutrition, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Atheroma, Niacin, High-density lipoprotein


Xanthohumol is expected to be a potent anti-atherosclerotic agent due to its inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP). In this study, we hypothesized that xanthohumol prevents atherosclerosis in vivo and used CETP-transgenic mice (CETP-Tg mice) to evaluate xanthohumol as a functional agent.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Atherosclerosis, Atheroma, High-density lipoprotein, Cholesterylester transfer protein, Cholesteryl ester, Artery, Apolipoprotein E


BACKGROUND: Type VI dual left anterior descending artery (LAD) is a rare coronary anomaly, the first case of which has recently been described. This is the first report of type VI dual LAD anomaly in which the patient presented with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction and percutaneous coronary intervention was performed in the anomalously originating LAD. CASE PRESENTATION: A 52-year-old man with diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia presented with chest pain without ST elevation on EKG, although the patient’s troponin I level was elevated. Coronary angiography revealed a short LAD originating from the left main coronary artery and a long LAD originating from the proximal portion of the right coronary artery (RCA). Three-dimensional reconstruction of computed tomography of images revealed that the long LAD originated from the proximal RCA and coursed between the right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) and the aortic root before entering the mid anterior interventricular groove. The high take-off RCA originated underneath the RVOT, pointing downwards and forming an acute angle with the proximal portion of the long LAD. The anomalous long LAD displayed significant stenosis. We performed successful percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in the anomalous artery. CONCLUSION: With accurate understanding of the coronary anatomy and appropriate hardware selection, successful PCI can be performed in the in the long LAD in patients with type VI dual LAD anomaly.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Cardiology, Heart, Atheroma, Cardiovascular system, Left coronary artery


Although drug-eluting stents have dramatically reduced angiographic restenosis and clinical need for repeat revascularization procedures, some adverse effects, such as late stent thrombosis, have been described. We evaluated clinical performance of paclitaxel-eluting stents coated with a new bioactive polymer system (P-5) based on a copolymer of an acrylic derivative of triflusal in patients with coronary artery disease.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Coronary artery disease, Cardiology, Atheroma, Artery, Stent, Cardiovascular system, Drug-eluting stent


Ischemic heart disease is a complex disease process caused by the development of coronary atherosclerosis, with downstream effects on the left ventricular myocardium. It is characterized by a long preclinical phase, abrupt development of myocardial infarction, and more chronic disease states such as stable angina and ischemic cardiomyopathy. Recent advances in computed tomography (CT) and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) now allow detailed imaging of each of these different phases of the disease, potentially allowing ischemic heart disease to be tracked during a patient’s lifetime. In particular, CT has emerged as the noninvasive modality of choice for imaging the coronary arteries, whereas CMR offers detailed assessments of myocardial perfusion, viability, and function. The clinical utility of these techniques is increasingly being supported by robust randomized controlled trial data, although the widespread adoption of cardiac CT and CMR will require further evidence of clinical efficacy and cost effectiveness.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Cardiology, Heart, Atheroma, Artery, Coronary circulation