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Elevated levels of serum PCSK9 in male patients with symptomatic peripheral artery disease: The CAVASIC study

Azin Kheirkhah, Claudia Lamina, Barbara Rantner, Barbara Kollerits, Marietta Stadler, Johannes Pohlhammer, Peter Klein-Weigel, Gustav Fraedrich,
Published: 1 January 2021
Atherosclerosis , Volume 316, pp 41-47; doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2020.11.025

Abstract: Background and aimsPeripheral artery disease (PAD) affects more than 200 million people worldwide. Increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)levels are a risk factor for PAD and the concentrations are influenced by proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9). PCSK9 regulates the recycling of the LDL receptors to the cell membrane surface. Only a limited number of mostly small studies investigated the association between serum PCSK9 concentrations and PAD of different definition, which revealed contrasting results.MethodsSerum PCSK9, lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] and other lipoprotein concentrations were measured in male participants of the CAVASIC study, a case-control study of 248 patients with intermittent claudication and 251 age and diabetes-matched controls.ResultsPAD patients had significantly higher PCSK9 concentrations when compared to controls (250 ± 77 vs. 222 ± 68 ng/mL, p < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis with adjustment for age revealed that an increase in PCSK9 concentrations of 100 ng/mL was associated with a 1.78-fold higher risk for PAD (95%CI 1.38–2.33, p = 1.43 × 10−5). The association attenuated, but was still significant when adjusting additionally for age, Lp(a)-corrected LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, high-sensitivity-CRP, statin treatment, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and smoking (OR = 1.49, 95%CI 1.03–2.18, p = 0.035). The strongest association was observed when both PCSK9 concentrations were above the median and Lp(a) concentrations were above 30 mg/dL (OR = 3.35, 95%CI 1.49–7.71, p = 0.0038).ConclusionsOur findings suggest an association of higher PCSK9 concentrations with PAD, which was independent of other lipid parameters and classical cardiovascular risk factors.
Keywords: Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9; PCSK9; lipoprotein(a); peripheral artery disease; intermittent claudication

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