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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005 Oct;25(10):2192-6. Epub 2005 Aug 18.

Associations between soluble CD40 ligand, atherosclerosis risk factors, and subclinical atherosclerosis: results from the Dallas Heart Study.

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Donald W. Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the associations between plasma levels of soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L), atherosclerosis risk factors, and evidence of subclinical atherosclerosis.


Plasma levels of sCD40L were measured in 2811 subjects from the Dallas Heart Study, a multiethnic population-based cross-sectional study. Electron Beam Computed Tomography measurements of coronary artery calcium (CAC) and MRI measurements of aortic plaque were performed in 2198 and 1965 subjects, respectively. No association was observed between quartiles of sCD40L and age, sex, race, body mass index, diabetes, smoking, creatinine clearance, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or C-reactive protein. In contrast, weak but statistically significant associations were observed between sCD40L and total cholesterol and triglycerides. The prevalence of detectable CAC (CAC score > or =10) and aortic plaque did not differ across sCD40L quartiles, and individuals with CAC scores <10, > or =10 to 100, >100 to 400, and >400 had similar sCD40L levels.


In a large and representative multiethnic population-based sample, sCD40L was not associated with most atherosclerotic risk factors or with subclinical atherosclerosis. These findings suggest that sCD40L will not be useful as a tool to screen for the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis in the population. Further evaluation of this biomarker should focus on settings in which platelet activation is common, such as following acute coronary syndromes or coronary revascularization procedures.

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