Clustering of Metabolic Syndrome Traits Is Associated With Maladaptive Carotid Remodeling and Stiffening
A 6-Year Longitudinal Study
Maladaptive arterial remodeling may constitute a mechanism underlying the risk of stroke in individuals with the metabolic syndrome (MetS), but evidence supporting this contention derives from cross-sectional studies only. We, therefore, investigated, in apparently healthy adults, whether changes in MetS status between the ages of 36 and 42 years (never [n=207, reference group], incident [n=31], recovery [n=23], and persistent [n=32]) were associated with changes in carotid interadventitial diameter, lumen diameter, intima-media thickness, circumferential wall tension and stress, and Young's elastic modulus. All data analyses were adjusted for sex, height, and (changes in) age, lifestyle variables, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and use of antihypertensive medication. At baseline and as compared with the reference group, individuals with persistent MetS had significantly higher interadventitial diameter, circumferential wall tension, circumferential wall stress, and Young's elastic modulus but not intima-media thickness. In the course of follow-up, these individuals (versus reference group) displayed significantly steeper increases in intima-media thickness (0.011 versus 0.005 mm/y), which were accompanied by significantly steeper increases in interadventitial diameter (0.077 versus 0.032 mm/y) and lumen diameter (0.055 versus 0.023 mm/y) but not circumferential wall stress, which decreased (−0.34 versus 0.12 kPa/y). These findings suggest that increases in intima-media thickness in young adults with the MetS may primarily reflect an adaptive mechanism that attempts to restore local hemodynamic conditions to an equilibrium rather than atherosclerosis, per se. However, carotid adaptations did not restore circumferential wall stress to levels comparable with those of the reference group, and, therefore, outward remodeling was maladaptive. Importantly, individuals who recovered from the MetS restored carotid properties to levels comparable to the reference group, emphasizing the potential for reversibility.
- Received March 5, 2012.
- Revision received March 24, 2012.
- Accepted May 2, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.