Association of arterial stiffness with the angiotensin-converting enzyme gene polymorphism in healthy individuals.
Dima I., Vlachopoulos C., Alexopoulos N., Baou K., Vasiliadou C., Antoniades C., Aznaouridis K., Stefanadi E., Tousoulis D., Stefanadis C.
BACKGROUND: Arterial stiffness is an important determinant of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The I/D polymorphism of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) gene is associated with cardiovascular disease. However, the relationship between ACE polymorphism, arterial stiffness, and wave reflections in healthy, low-risk population has not been defined yet. METHODS: The study included 282 apparently healthy, low-risk individuals (mean age 39.7 +/- 8.9 years, 178 males). Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) was measured as an index of aortic stiffness, while wave reflections were assessed by augmentation index (AIx) of the central pressure waveform. I/D polymorphism of the ACE gene was determined in all subjects for the prevalence of the DD, ID, and II genotype (39, 44, and 17%, respectively). C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were determined as a marker of chronic, subclinical inflammation. RESULTS: After adjustment for potential confounding factors, presence of D allele was associated with lower values of PWV compared to II genotype (P < 0.05), implying lower aortic stiffness for D allele carriers. There was no association between ACE genotype and wave reflections or peripheral and central systolic pressures. CONCLUSIONS: In apparently healthy individuals, D allele is associated with lower aortic stiffness, whereas there is no association of the ACE polymorphism with wave reflections. This finding provides new insights into the possible links between ACE gene, regulation of large artery stiffness, and has implications for cardiovascular risk.