Metabolic profiling of intra- and extracranial carotid artery atherosclerosis.
Vojinovic D., van der Lee SJ., van Duijn CM., Vernooij MW., Kavousi M., Amin N., Demirkan A., Ikram MA., van der Lugt A., Bos D.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Increasing evidence shows that intracranial carotid artery atherosclerosis may develop under the influence of a differential metabolic risk factor profile than atherosclerosis in the extracranial part of the carotid artery. To further elucidate these differences, we investigated associations of a wide range of circulating metabolites with intracranial and extracranial carotid artery atherosclerosis. METHODS: From the population-based Rotterdam Study, blood samples from 1111 participants were used to determine a wide range of metabolites by proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Moreover, these participants underwent non-contrast computed tomography of the neck and head to quantify the amount of extra- and intracranial carotid artery calcification (ECAC and ICAC), as a proxy of atherosclerosis. We assessed associations of the metabolites with ICAC and ECAC and compared the metabolic association patterns of the two. RESULTS: We found that one standard deviation (SD) increase in concentration of 3-hydroxybutyrate, a ketone body, was significantly associated with a 0.11 SD increase in ICAC volume (p = 1.8 × 10-4). When we compared the metabolic association pattern of ICAC with that of ECAC, we observed differences in glycolysis-related metabolite measures, lipoprotein subfractions, and amino acids. Interestingly, glycoprotein acetyls were associated with calcification in both studied vessel beds. These associations were most prominent in men. CONCLUSIONS: We found that a higher circulating level of 3-hydroxybutyrate was associated with an increase in ICAC. Furthermore, we found differences in metabolic association patterns of ICAC and ECAC, providing further evidence for location-specific differences in the etiology of atherosclerosis.