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Tracking serum lipid levels and the association of cholesterol concentrations, blood pressure and cigarette smoking with carotid artery intima-media thickness in young adults born small for gestational age

Maria Salonen, Sirpa Tenhola, Tomi Laitinen, Tiina Lyyra-Laitinen, Jarkko Romppanen, Jarmo Jääskeläinen, Raimo Voutilainen
Circulation Journal: Official Journal of the Japanese Circulation Society 2010, 74 (11): 2419-25
20921815

BACKGROUND: Small birth size is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, but the mediating factors are poorly understood.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Serum lipids, blood pressure (BP), carotid artery intima-media thickness (CA-IMT), and brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (BA-FMD) were studied in 70 20-year-old subjects [35 sex- and age-matched pairs born small (SGA) and appropriate for gestational age (AGA)]. The SGA subjects had higher serum levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, total/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and LDL/HDL cholesterol ratios, and lower HDL cholesterol levels than the AGA subjects (2.71 vs 2.37 mmol/L, P<0.05; 3.12 vs 2.80, P<0.01; 1.98 vs 1.61, P=0.002; 1.43 vs 1.56 mmol/L, P<0.05, respectively). In the SGA group, total and LDL cholesterol levels correlated inversely with adult height SD score (r=0.463, P=0.006 and r=0.413, P=0.015, respectively). CA-IMT or BA-FMD did not differ between the groups, but cigarette smoking, higher diastolic BP, and shorter birth length associated with higher CA-IMT in the whole study population. A clear tracking of cholesterol levels was found from 12 to 20 years.

CONCLUSIONS: SGA subjects had more unfavorable lipid profiles than the controls, the shortest having the highest LDL cholesterol. Cigarette smoking, higher diastolic BP, and shorter birth length associated with higher CA-IMT in the whole study population. A clear tracking of cholesterol levels through adolescence enables early targeting of lifestyle counseling for reducing cardiovascular disease risk.

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