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Clin Radiol. 2009 Nov;64(11):1097-103. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2009.06.009. Epub 2009 Aug 22.

Factors associated with gender difference in the intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Kaohsiung Medical Center, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.



To investigate the gender differences associated with a thinner intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid artery (CCA) in women.


In a sample of 218 consecutive healthy volunteers comprising 110 men and 108 women, the IMT of the CCA was measured using B-mode ultrasonography. Blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), blood lipid profile, homocysteine, folic acid, uric acid, high sensitive C-reactive protein, and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) levels were measured and compared with each other in both genders.


The IMT of the CCA was significantly thinner in women than in men (p=0.012). Blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, BMI, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, homocysteine, uric acid, and TBARS were significantly (p<0.05) lower, folic acid and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) were significantly (p<0.0001) higher in women compared with men. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that higher serum levels of homocysteine, uric acid, and TBARS, and lower serum levels of HDL-C were significantly (p<0.05) associated with male sex. Multiple linear regression analysis further revealed that age, sex, and BMI were independently associated with CCA IMT.


The IMT of the CCA was thinner in women than in men. Traditional vascular risk factors explain only a small amount of variance in multivariate regression models supporting the hypothesis that other behavioural, sex hormone-related or genetic factors, which have not been sufficiently explored so far, may play a role in the gender differences of IMT.

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