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Atherosclerosis. 2002 Jul;163(1):121-6.

Urinary albumin excretion is related to cardiovascular risk indicators, not to flow-mediated vasodilation, in apparently healthy subjects.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands.


Based on studies in diabetic and hypertensive populations it has been postulated that early endothelial dysfunction is the mechanism responsible for the increased cardiovascular risk in microalbuminuric subjects. We evaluated the relation between microalbuminuria and endothelial dysfunction, assessed as flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery, in an apparently healthy population. Within the framework of the PREVEND Intervention Trial non-hypertensive and non-hypercholesterolemic subjects were recruited on the basis of reproducible microalbuminuria. Using high-resolution ultrasound, flow-mediated dilation and nitroglycerin-mediated dilation of the brachial artery was assessed to measure endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent responses, respectively. For the current study subjects with diabetes mellitus, clinical atherosclerosis, and macroalbuminuria were excluded from the analyses. We studied 421 men and 233 women (mean age (SD) 50 (12)). Increasing levels of urinary albumin excretion were accompanied by a significant increase in age, percentage men, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body mass index, and serum triglycerides, whereas there was no decrease of flow-mediated vasodilation or nitroglycerin-mediated vasodilation. Adjusted for age and sex, urinary albumin excretion was significantly related to systolic (r=0.19, P<0.001) and diastolic (r=0.16, P<0.001) blood pressure, body mass index (r=0.18, P<0.001), and triglycerides (r=0.13, P=0.001), but not to flow-mediated vasodilation (r=-0.01, P=0.8). In contrast to blood pressure, body mass index, and triglycerides, there was no relation between urinary albumin excretion and flow-mediated vasodilation in apparently healthy subjects. These data suggest that the presence of atherogenic risk factors precedes the development of endothelial dysfunction in microalbuminuric, but otherwise healthy subjects.

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