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J Atheroscler Thromb. 2009 Apr;16(2):127-34. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

Heparin cofactor II is an independent protective factor against peripheral arterial disease in elderly subjects with cardiovascular risk factors.

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Department of Medicine and Bioregulatory Sciences, University of Tokushima Graduate School of Health Biosciences, Tokushima, Japan.



Heparin cofactor II (HCII) specifically inactivates thrombin action at the injured vascular wall. We have reported that HCII is a protective factor against coronary in-stent restenosis and carotid atherosclerosis; however, it is unclear whether there is any correlation between plasma HCII levels and the development of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).


Plasma HCII activity and the ankle brachial pressure index (ABI) were determined in 494 elderly subjects with cardiovascular risk factors. PAD was diagnosed by ABI below 0.9, and 62 subjects were diagnosed with PAD. The relationship between factors that affect cardiovascular events and the prevalence of PAD was statistically evaluated.


Mean HCII activity in PAD subjects was significantly lower than in non-PAD subjects (87.5+/-19.7% v.s. 94.6+/-17.8%, p=0.009). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that age (odds ratio [OR]: 1.062, p=0.0016), current smoking (OR 3.028, p=0.002) and diabetes mellitus (OR 2.656, p=0.008) were independent and progressive determinants of PAD. In contrast, HCII was an independent inhibitory factor of PAD (OR: 0.982, p=0.048).


Plasma HCII activity is inversely related to the prevalence of PAD. HCII may function as the sole protective factor against PAD in elderly people with cardiovascular risk factors.

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