Interleukin-18, the metabolic syndrome, and subclinical atherosclerosis: Results from the Dallas Heart Study

Andreas Zirlik, Shuaib M Abdullah, Norbert Gerdes, Lindsey MacFarlane, Uwe Schönbeck, Amit Khera, Darren K McGuire, Gloria L Vega, Scott M Grundy, Peter Libby, James A de Lemos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - Although IL-18 promotes atherogenesis in animal studies and predicts cardiovascular risk in humans, it is unknown whether elevated IL-18 levels are associated with coronary atherosclerosis in the general population. METHODS AND RESULTS - IL-18 plasma levels were determined by ELISA in 2231 subjects from the Dallas Heart Study. In univariable analysis, IL-18 levels associated with traditional cardiovascular risk factors and particularly with components of the metabolic syndrome (MS, P<0.01 for trend across the number of MS components); IL-18 also associated with coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores measured by electron beam computed tomography and aortic plaque measured by MRI (P<0.01 for each). In multivariable analyses, IL-18 remained associated with multiple components of the MS but not with CAC or aortic plaque. CONCLUSIONS - In a large population-based sample, elevated IL-18 plasma levels associated with risk factors for atherosclerosis and with the metabolic syndrome. The association between IL-18 and atherosclerosis diminished after accounting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors. These data suggest that IL-18 does not add independently to detection of atherosclerotic burden in asymptomatic individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2043-2049
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Imaging
  • Interleukins
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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