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Atherosclerosis. 2010 Aug;211(2):638-42. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2010.03.013. Epub 2010 Mar 16.

High levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, insulin resistance and saturated fatty acids are associated with endothelial dysfunction in healthy adolescents.

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Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine/Clinical Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy and University Hospital, University of Gothenburg, SE 41345 Gothenburg, Sweden.



Atherosclerosis begins and progresses during childhood and adolescence. Endothelial dysfunction is one of the earliest abnormalities that can be detected in the development of atherosclerosis. As the determinants of endothelial function in childhood are unknown, we investigated the influence of cardiovascular risk factors on endothelial function in a cohort of healthy adolescents.


A total of 257 adolescents (age: 14.5 + or - 1.0 years, 138 girls) participated in this study. Endothelial function was measured as reactive hyperemic index (RHI) using a fingertip peripheral arterial tonometry device. Blood samples were collected for analysis of lipids, insulin, glucose, fatty acid composition of plasma phospholipids, and markers of inflammation and endothelial function.


There was no gender difference in RHI. Boys had higher plasma level of vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), P-selectin and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and lower level of insulin, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL), ApoA1, ApoB, and docosahexaenoic acid of plasma phospholipids than girls. There was no gender difference regarding triacylglycerol, triacylglycerol/HDL, LDL/HDL and ApoB/ApoA. The RHI was inversely associated with plasma ICAM-1 (p=0.0003), HOMA index for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR, p=0.001) and saturated fatty acids of plasma phospholipids (SFA, p=0.001). The associations remained significant after adjusting for age, height, BMI-z-score, sex, blood pressure, HDL and smoking.


In healthy adolescents impaired endothelial function is significantly associated with high level of soluble ICAM-1, HOMA-IR and SFA.

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