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Atherosclerosis. 2008 Sep;200(1):221-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2007.12.027. Epub 2008 Feb 7.

Prospective association of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) with coronary heart disease mortality in southeastern New England.

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  • 1Center for Primary Care and Prevention, Memorial Hospital of RI, Pawtucket, RI 02860, USA.



Autopsy data suggest that plaque neovascularization may be associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) death. Since vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) is upregulated in angiogenesis and therefore neovascularization, we hypothesized that individuals with elevated levels of VEGF-A at baseline would be a greater risk of dying of CHD compared to those with lower levels over time.


We measured VEGF-A levels in 46 CHD death cases and a 14% random sample of 2321 community participants who were free of self-reported CHD at baseline. Traditional CHD risk factors such as age, gender, family history of CHD, cigarette smoking, hypertension, total cholesterol/HDL ratio, diabetes mellitus, were also evaluated at baseline. Mortality follow-up was determined through linkage of baseline data with the National Death Index.


During a median of 13 years of follow-up, 46 subjects died of coronary heart disease. Mean VEGF-A levels were significantly higher in the CHD death cases than among the random population sample (400 pg/ml vs. 303 pg/ml, p=0.0004). In proportional hazards models adjusting for traditional risk factors, the hazard ratios (95%CI) for CHD death associated with increasing tertiles of VEGF-A were 1.0 (referent), 2.12 (0.74, 6.10), and 3.85 (1.37, 10.78), respectively (P(test for trend)=0.008).


In this population-based prospective, case-cohort study, baseline levels of VEGF-A showed a significant independent association with the risk of CHD death.

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