Rohde LE, Lee RT, Rivero J, Jamacochian M, Arroyo LH, Briggs W, Rifai N, Libby P, Creager MA, Ridker PM. 1998. Circulating cell adhesion molecules are correlated with ultrasound-based assessment of carotid atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 18(11):1765-70. Pubmed: 9812916


Although cellular adhesion molecules (CAMs) are hypothesized to play an important role in atherogenesis, the relationship between CAMs and systemic atherosclerosis is uncertain. Among 92 outpatients (48 men; mean+/-SD age, 65+/-9 years), we evaluated the association of soluble vascular CAM-1 (sVCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) with carotid intimal-medial thickness (IMT), an index of early atherosclerosis. All subjects underwent a 2-dimensional ultrasound examination of both carotid arteries at the distal common carotid arteries and bifurcation. sVCAM-1 and sICAM-1 levels measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were significantly correlated with mean IMT of the common carotid artery (r=0.34 and r=0.30, respectively; P<0.01) and carotid bifurcation (r=0.31 and r=0.26, respectively; P<0.05), whereas sVCAM-1 was also positively associated with maximal carotid IMT (r=0.35, P<0.01). Adjustment for age attenuated the association between sVCAM-1 and common (r=0.16, P=0.13) and bifurcation (r=0.18, P=0.07) carotid IMT but had minimal effect on the associations between sICAM-1 and carotid measurements (r=0.32, P<0.01; r=0.23, P<0.05; for common and bifurcation IMT, respectively). Age-adjusted sICAM-1 levels increased in a stepwise fashion across common carotid IMT tertiles (253+/-27 versus 275+/-24 versus 384+/-26 pg/mL for the lowest, intermediate, and highest IMT tertiles, respectively; P<0.01). A similar trend was also found between sVCAM-1 levels and common carotid IMT tertiles (625+/-60 versus 650+/-53 versus 714+/-58 pg/mL; P<0.15). These associations were minimally affected in analyses adjusting for hypertension, diabetes, smoking, low and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, lipoprotein(a), and homocysteine, or in a subgroup analysis limited to those with no prior history of atherothrombotic disease. These data demonstrate a positive association between serum CAMs with carotid IMT and further support the hypothesis that systemic inflammation may have a role in atherosclerotic lesion development.

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Rich Lee seeks to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, and translate that understanding into therapies. Lee is an active clinician, regularly treating patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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