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Atherosclerosis. 2006 Apr;185(2):375-80. Epub 2005 Jul 25.

Plasma cystatin-C and development of coronary heart disease: The PRIME Study.

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Department of Atherosclerosis, SERLIA-INSERM UR545, Institut Pasteur de Lille, 1, rue du Professeur Calmette, 59019 Lille Cedex, France and University Lille II, France.


The pathogenesis of ischemic coronary events involves degradation of the extracellular matrix in atherosclerotic lesions. The cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin-C may be involved in this phenomenon. The association of plasma cystatin-C with the incidence of myocardial infarction-coronary death and angina, was examined in a nested case-control (two controls per case) design within the prospective cohort study (Prospective Epidemiological Study of Myocardial Infarction (PRIME Study)) which included 9,758 men aged 50-59 years who were free of coronary heart disease (CHD) on entry and followed for a 5-year period. Three hundred and thirteen participants suffered myocardial infarction or coronary death (n = 159) or angina pectoris (n = 154) during follow-up. Cystatin-C was positively correlated with body mass index (BMI), low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, triglycerides and several inflammatory markers such as fibrinogen (r = 0.18), C-reactive protein (CRP) (r = 0.24), interleukin-6 (= 0.20), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) (r = 0.27) and two TNFalpha receptors: TNFR1A (r = 0.43) and TNFR1B (r = 0.41); and negatively with high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol (r = -0.25). After adjustment for traditional risk factors (age, diabetes, smoking, hypertension, BMI, triglycerides, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol), cystatin-C was significantly associated with the occurrence of the first ischemic coronary event. However, this association was no longer significant when CRP was included in the analysis. A decrease in glomerular filtration rate did not explain higher cystatin-C in cases than in controls. Cystatin-C appears to participate in the inflammatory phenomenon observed in the atherosclerotic process. Cystatin-C is not a more predictive risk marker of CHD than CRP or interleukin-6, but could be useful in detecting moderate chronic renal disease.

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