Introduction: Cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1) is a member of the interleukin-6 superfamily with known hypertrophic and protective actions upon cardiac myocytes. Although its effects on myocardial tissue and its role in hypertensive heart disease are well documented, there are no studies on CT-1 blood levels in patients with coronary artery disease. In this study we aimed to verify the relationships of serum CT-1 with vascular disease and metabolic parameters in a population of patients undergoing coronary angiography due to clinical indications.
Material and methods: Serum levels of CT-1 were investigated in a cohort of 81 consecutive patients (median age 68 years (95% CI: 64-71), 59 males) undergoing coronary angiography and carotid Doppler ultrasound. Exclusion criteria were: acute coronary syndrome, already-established ischemic cardiopathy, chronic inflammatory diseases and presence or past history of cancer.
Results: Levels of CT-1 were inversely correlated with body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) (p = -0.261, p = 0.02; p = -0.224, p = 0.05, respectively). Moreover, obese patients showed significantly lower CT-1 concentrations than non-obese ones (1.18 (0.64-1.64) ng/ml vs. 1.56 (1.37-2.04) ng/ml, p = 0.013), and serum CT-1 was significantly reduced in patients with elevated compared to those with normal WC (1.43 (0.94-1.60) ng/ml vs. 1.64 (1.39-2.49) ng/ml, p = 0.047). Concentrations of CT-1 did not correlate either with the other parameters of metabolic syndrome or with markers of cardiovascular disease (carotid intima-media thickness, presence of carotid or coronary artery plaques).
Conclusions: Our results failed to demonstrate any association between CT-1 and carotid or coronary disease. The inverse association with BMI and WC fits with the latest experimental data on the role of CT-1 in dysmetabolic conditions and could help to further clarify the role of CT-1 in obesity and diabetes.