Segment-specific association between plasma homocysteine level and carotid artery intima-media thickness in the Framingham Offspring Study.
Elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) level is an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The relationship between tHcy and carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) at the internal carotid artery (ICA)/bulb-IMT and common carotid artery (CCA)-IMT had not been systematically studied, however. Because the ICA/bulb segment is more prone to plaque formation than the CCA segment, differential associations with tHcy at these sites might suggest mechanisms of tHcy action. We examined the cross-sectional segment-specific relationships of tHcy to ICA/bulb-IMT and CCA-IMT in 2499 participants from the Framingham Offspring Study who were free of cardiovascular disease. In multivariate linear regression analysis, ICA/bulb-IMT was significantly higher in the fourth tHcy quartile category compared with the other quartile categories, in both the age- and sex-adjusted and the multivariate-adjusted models (P for trend <.0001 and <.01, respectively). We observed a significant age-by-tHcy interaction for ICA/bulb-IMT (P=.03) and thus stratified the analyses by median age (58 years). A significant positive trend between tHcy and ICA/bulb-IMT was seen in individuals age ≥58 years (P for trend <.01), but not in younger individuals (P for trend=.24) in multivariate-adjusted models. For CCA-IMT, no significant trends were observed in any of the analyses. The segment-specific association between elevated tHcy level and ICA/bulb-IMT suggests an association between tHcy and plaque formation.
Dietrich, M; Jacques, PF; Polak, JF; Keyes, MJ; Pencina, MJ; Evans, JC; Wolf, PA; Selhub, J; Vasan, RS; D'Agostino, RB
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