Research Article| Volume 190, ISSUE 1, P187-193, January 2007

Circulating oxidized low-density lipoprotein is associated with echolucent plaques in the femoral artery independently of hsCRP in 61-year-old men



      The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that circulating markers of inflammation (high-sensitive C-reactive protein, hsCRP) and oxidative modification of lipids (oxidized low-density lipoprotein, oxLDL) were associated with the occurrence of echolucent rather than echogenic femoral artery plaques in a cross-sectional population based cohort of 513, 61-year-old men.


      The relationships between circulating oxLDL, hsCRP and the occurrence of echolucent plaques in the femoral artery have not previously been investigated.


      The levels of circulating oxLDL and hsCRP were determined in plasma by ELISA. Plaque occurrence, size and echogenicity were measured by B-mode ultrasound in the right femoral artery. Assessment of plaque echogenicity was based on the classification (grades 1–4) proposed by Gray-Weale et al.


      A higher frequency of echolucent femoral plaques was observed in subjects with the metabolic syndrome and current smokers (p = 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively) as well as with increasing levels of oxLDL and hsCRP (p = 0.002 and p = 0.005, respectively). In a multiple logistic regression analysis oxLDL and current smokers turned out to be independent associated with the presence of echolucent femoral artery plaques.


      The results of the present study support our hypothesis that circulating oxLDL is a marker of an unstable echolucent plaque phenotype in the femoral artery in man.


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