Introduction Genetic susceptibility is considered an important mediator of the impact of cardiovascular risk factors on coronary heart disease (CHD). This study assessed the hypothesis that parental CHD, a surrogate measure of genetic susceptibility, increases the vulnerability of arterial structure-function dynamics to the adverse effects of metabolic syndrome and the aging process even in asymptomatic young adults with parental CHD.
Methods The study cohort consisted of 1,073 black and white subjects (31% black, 43.4% male) aged 25 to 44 years enrolled in the Bogalusa Heart Study. Arterial structure-function dynamics was assessed in terms of carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) measured by B-mode ultrasonography and aortofemoral pulse wave velocity (af-PWV) by echo-Doppler. Metabolic syndrome was defined by the NCEP guidelines.
Results Subjects with a positive parental history of CHD had greater carotid IMT (0.839 vs 0.802 mm, p = .017), higher af-PWV (5.4 vs 5.2 m/sec, p = 0.097), and higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome (12.1% vs 7.6%, p = .019) compared with those without such a history. Carotid IMT and af-PWV were significantly increased with increasing number of components of metabolic syndrome and age (both p < .001). Further, the number of metabolic syndrome components associated more strongly with carotid IMT in subjects with a parental history of CHD (β = 0.05, p < 0.001) than those without such a history (β = 0.03, p < .001), with p = .008 for comparison of slopes. Likewise, after adjusting for metabolic syndrome components, carotid IMT increased relatively more with age in subjects with parental history of CHD (β = 0.012, p < .001) than those without such a history (β = 0.007, p < .001), with p = .023 for comparison of slopes. af-PWV showed similar but nonsignificant differences in slopes, with an increasing number of metabolic syndrome components and age.
Conclusions Parental CHD increases the susceptibility of arterial structure-function dynamics, especially carotid artery IMT, to metabolic syndrome and the aging process even in asymptomatic young adults.
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