Fibrotic changes in the heart and arteries have been implicated in a diverse range of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), but whether circulating biomarkers that reflect fibrosis are associated with CVD is unknown.
METHODS AND RESULTS:
We determined the associations of 2 biomarkers of fibrosis, transforming growth factor- β (TGF-β), and procollagen type III N-terminal propeptide (PIIINP), with incident heart failure, myocardial infarction, and stroke among community-living older adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study. We measured circulating TGF-β (n=1371) and PIIINP (n=2568) from plasma samples collected in 1996 and ascertained events through 2010. Given TGF-β’s pleiotropic effects on inflammation and fibrogenesis, we investigated potential effect modification by C-reactive protein in secondary analyses. After adjustment for sociodemographic, clinical, and biochemical risk factors, PIIINP was associated with total CVD (hazard ratio [HR] per SD=1.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01-1.14) and heart failure (HR per SD=1.08; CI, 1.01-1.16) but not myocardial infarction or stroke. TGF-β was not associated with any CVD outcomes in the full cohort but was associated with total CVD (HR per SD=1.16; CI, 1.02-1.31), heart failure (HR per SD=1.16; CI, 1.01-1.34), and stroke (HR per SD=1.20; CI, 1.01-1.42) among individuals with C-reactive protein above the median, 2.3 mg/L (P interaction <0.05).
Our findings provide large-scale, prospective evidence that circulating biomarkers of fibrosis, measured in community-living individuals late in life, are associated with CVD. Further research on whether TGF-β has a stronger fibrogenic effect in the setting of inflammation is warranted.
Source: Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol.