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Eur Heart J. 2010 Mar;31(5):602-13. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehp491. Epub 2009 Nov 25.

The central arterial burden of the metabolic syndrome is similar in men and women: the SardiNIA Study.

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Laboratory of Cardiovascular Sciences, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, USA.



We evaluated whether specific clusters of metabolic syndrome (MetS) components differentially impact on arterial structure and function, and whether the impact is similar in men and in women.


Components of the MetS and arterial properties were assessed in 6148 subjects, aged 14-102 in a cluster of four towns in Sardinia, Italy. MetS was defined in accordance with the ATP III criteria. Age groups were classified as: <35, 35-49, 50-64, and > or =65 years. Systolic blood pressure (BP), diastolic BP, pulse pressure, common carotid artery (CCA) diameter, intima-media thickness, distensibility, strain, stiffness index, wall stress, and aortic pulse wave velocity were measured. Common carotid artery plaque was defined as focal encroachment of the arterial wall and CCA calcification as acoustic shadowing. In any age group, subjects with MetS presented thicker, stiffer or less distensible, and wider large arteries than controls. The arterial burden of MetS increased as the number of altered MetS components increased. However, not all MetS components were associated with the same changes in arterial properties. In fact, specific clusters of MetS components, i.e. any combination of altered glucose tolerance, elevated BP, and elevated triglycerides (with or without abdominal obesity), dramatically increased age-associated arterial changes. The impact of MetS on arterial function was similar in men and women.


MetS accelerates age-associated arterial changes, even in older persons. However, not all the clusters of MetS components render the same burden on arterial structure and function.

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