April 13, 2017

Clue to pulmonary hypertension

Vanderbilt investigators have studied the relationship between race, cardiometabolic traits and pulmonary hypertension.

African-Americans are disproportionately affected by pulmonary hypertension compared to their white counterparts.

Recent evidence suggests that metabolic traits such as insulin resistance and adiposity may contribute to pulmonary vascular disease. Even modest increases in pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) are associated with higher cardiovascular risk and increased mortality.

To study the relationship between race and cardiometabolic traits with PASP, Evan Brittain, M.D., M.Sc., and colleagues estimated PASP in 1,311 participants in the long-running CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) biracial study cohort who underwent the year-25 electrocardiogram exam.

Their findings, published last month in the Journal of the American Heart Association, identified newly recognized associations of higher PASP with black race and metabolic traits including plasma markers of insulin resistance, inflammation and adipose volume.

This is the first large study to examine racial differences in PASP in a community-based population. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and examine whether insulin resistance directly contributes to pulmonary artery disease.

This work was supported by the American Heart Association Fellow to Faculty Grant, Gilead Sciences Research Program in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension and the National Institutes of Health (grants HL108800, HL125212, HL109019. The CARDIA study was conducted and supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Northwestern University, University of Minnesota, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Vanderbilt University (HL098445). The CARDIA study is also partially supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and an intra‐agency agreement between NIA and NHLBI (AG0005).

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