Abstract 3000: Increased Human Urotensin II Levels are Correlated With Carotid Atherosclerosis in Essential Hypertension
Background: Circulating blood levels of human urotensin II (U-II), the most potent vasoconstrictor peptide identified to date, are increased in patients with essential hypertension. Our previous studies showed that U-II accelerates human macrophage foam cell formation and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, suggesting development of atherosclerotic plaque. In this study, we demonstrated a correlation between plasma U-II level and progression of atherosclerosis in hypertensive patients.
Methods and Results: The intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaque score in the carotid artery, blood pressure (BP), plasma levels of U-II, and atherosclerotic parameters were determined in 50 hypertensive patients and 31 normotensive controls. Plasma U-II level, max IMT, plaque score, systolic BP, and homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) were significantly greater in hypertensive patients than normotensive controls. Age, gender, body mass index, and serum levels of high-sensitive CRP, HDL and LDL cholesterols, small dense LDL, triglycerides, lipoprotein(a), insulin, and fasting plasma glucose level were not significantly different between the two groups. In all subjects, plasma U-II level showed significant positive correlations with systolic BP, max IMT, plaque score, and HOMA-IR. Multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that the contribution of plasma U-II levels to carotid plaque formation (plaque score > 1) was significantly still greater by 1.6-fold than those of established risk factors, such as age, systolic BP, high-sensitive CRP, small dense LDL, and HOMA-IR.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that increased levels of U-II may play a crucial role in the development of carotid atherosclerosis in hypertensive patients.