Abstract 2904: Interleukin-18, the Metabolic Syndrome, and Subclinical Atherosclerosis: Results from the Dallas Heart Study
Background: Pro-inflammatory interleukin (IL)-18 promotes atherogenesis in animals and predicts cardiovascular risk in humans. We investigated whether IL-18 plasma levels associate with the metabolic syndrome and coronary atherosclerosis in the general population.
Methods: IL-18 plasma levels were determined by ELISA in 2231 subjects from the Dallas Heart Study, a probability-based population study, and were correlated with components of the metabolic syndrome (MS), coronary artery calcification (CAC) by CT, and aortic plaque by MRI.
Results: In univariable analyses, IL-18 was associated with a variety of traditional cardiovascular risk factors and particularly with components of the MS (Figure⇓; p< 0.01 for trend). IL-18 correlated most strongly with waist-to-hip ratio (Rho 0.20, P=0.0001), a relationship that remained significant after adjustment for sex and obesity. IL-18 also correlated with prevalent CAC and aortic plaque (p<0.01 for each). In multivariable analyses, IL-18 remained associated with individual components of the MS but not CAC or aortic plaque.
Conclusions: In a large, population-based sample, elevated IL-18 plasma levels associated with risk factors for atherosclerosis and with the metabolic syndrome. The association between IL-18 and atherosclerosis diminished after accounting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, suggesting that IL-18 does not add to currently accepted risk markers as a diagnostic tool to assess atherosclerotic burden in a community-based population.