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Circulation. 1995 Jan 1;91(1):23-7.

Anti-cardiolipin antibodies and risk of myocardial infarction in a prospective cohort of middle-aged men.

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  • 1National Public Health Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland.



Data concerning the relation between antiphospholipid (aPL) antibodies and myocardial infarction in subjects without evidence of overt autoimmune disease are conflicting. All published studies have been performed on survivors of myocardial infarction or in patients with established coronary heart disease. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the presence of aPL antibodies, namely, anti-cardiolipin (aCL) antibodies, carries a risk for myocardial infarction in a prospective cohort.


The sera to be studied were drawn at entry from middle-aged dyslipidemic men (non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, > or = 5.2 mmol/L) participating in the Helsinki Heart Study, a 5-year coronary primary prevention trial with gemfibrozil. Samples were tested for IgG-class antibodies to cardiolipin by an ELISA. The risk was estimated with logistic regression analysis using a nested case-control design with 133 patients (myocardial infarction or cardiac death) and 133 control subjects, matched for treatment (gemfibrozil/placebo) and geographical area. The aCL antibody level, as expressed in optical density units, was significantly higher in patients than in control subjects (0.417 versus 0.361; P < .005). Subjects with the antibody level in the highest quartile of distribution had a relative risk for myocardial infarction of 2.0 (95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 3.5) compared with the remainder of the population. This risk was independent of confounding factors, such as age, smoking, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein. There was a correlation between the levels of aCL antibodies and antibodies to oxidized LDL (r = .40, P < .001), and their joint effect was additive for the risk.


In a prospective cohort of healthy middle-aged men, the presence of a high aCL antibody level is an independent risk factor for myocardial infarction or cardiac death. Antibodies to cardiolipin and oxidized LDL may, at least in part, represent cross-reactive antibody populations.

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