Biglycan expression, earlier vascular damage and pro-atherogenic profile improvement after smoke cessation in young people


      • Biglycan (BGN) is a recognized early initiator of atherosclerosis and inflammation.
      • Young smokers without cardiovascular risk factors precociously present atherosclerosis.
      • BGN expression is increased in young smokers.
      • After 1 year of smoke cessation BGN decreases; HDL-C, inflammatory markers, and cf-PWV are significantly improved.
      • This observation may add a piece in the puzzle of the vascular damaging induced by cigarette smoking.


      Background and aims

      Young cigarette smokers may already present with early signs of vascular inflammation and damage; biglycan (BGN) has been shown to play a critical role in the initiation and progression of vascular lesions, also in young smokers. We investigated whether after smoke cessation, monocyte BGN expression is reduced; moreover, we evaluated any improvement of pro-atherogenic profile and arterial stiffness (AS), and their relationship with BGN in abstinent smokers.


      Two-hundred-fifty-one young people who had decided to quit smoking were enrolled; of these, 71 had completed the 12-month observation period maintaining smoking abstinence. At enrollment and 12 months later, we evaluated anthropometrics, laboratory profile, carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV), carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), BGN expression.


      After 12-month smoke abstinence, we found a significant decrease in inflammatory markers (Hs-CRP: −23.3%; fibrinogen: −11.8%; IL-6: −9.2%), and increased HDL-C levels (+9.3%); blood pressure values were also slightly reduced. cf-PWV (−8.9%) appeared to be improved; cIMT remained unchanged. BGN expression appeared to be reduced (−42.8% relative reduction). BGN reduction appeared to be associated with fibrinogen reduction, and smoking burden. Reduced cf-PWV appeared to be dependent on change in fibrinogen, SBP, IL-6, and BGN by multiple regression analysis.


      After the first year of smoke abstinence, the levels of IL-6, CRP, fibrinogen, HDL-C, and BGN expression, as well cf-PWV, are significantly improved as compared to baseline. This is the first evidence that removing exposure to a well-known cardiovascular risk factor, such as cigarette smoking, leads to significant reduction of BGN expression.


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