Abstract 1929: Endogenous Cholesterol Synthesis Is Associated With Increased Carotid Intima-Media-Thickness
Doppler-ultrasound assessed intima-media-thickness (IMT) is regarded as a potential predictor for cardiovascular events. The impact of differences in cholesterol metabolism in relation to IMT are unknown. We assessed the hypothesis that markers of cholesterol metabolism were related to IMT measurements. In 601 hospital employees (25– 60 years of age) without known cardiovascular diseases and without lipid-modifying medication carotid IMT was assessed by Doppler-ultrasound offline readings. Plant sterols (indicators of cholesterol absorption), lathosterol (indicator of cholesterol synthesis) and serum cholesterol concentrations were determined by gas-liquid-chromatography. There was a positive correlation of IMT with serum cholesterol levels (r=0.22; p<0.001). Stratifying subjects by serum cholesterol levels in quintiles we found that subjects in the highest quintile of serum cholesterol had higher measurements of IMT compared to those in the lowest quintile (0.46 ± 0.09 mm vs. 0.41 ± 0.06 mm; p<0.001). Evaluating markers of endogenous cholesterol synthesis to IMT, there was a positive correlation for lathosterol with IMT measurements (lathosterol r=0.25; p<0.001; lathosterol/cholesterol ratio r=0.18; p<0.001). In contrast, plant sterols, as markers of cholesterol absorption, showed a weak negative correlation to IMT measurements (campesterol r= −0.08; p<0.04; campesterol/cholesterol ratio r= −0.18; p<0.001). After stratification of subjects by serum lathosterol levels in quintiles, IMT measurements increased constantly with significantly higher IMT measurements in quintile 5 and 4 compared to quintile 1 (0.45±0.08 mm and 0.44±0.07 mm vs. 0.41±0.06 mm; p<0.01 and p<0.001). However, IMT measurements did not differ between quintiles of markers of cholesterol absorption (plant sterols). In this population without prevalent cardiovascular diseases and without lipid-modifying medication increased endogenous cholesterol synthesis but not cholesterol absorption is positively related to intima-media thickness.