Metabolic syndrome amplifies the age-associated increases in vascular thickness and stiffness

Angelo Scuteri, Samer S. Najjar, Denis C. Muller, Reubin Andres, Hidetaka Hougaku, E. Jeffrey Metter, Edward G. Lakatta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives We sought to evaluate whether the clustering of multiple components of the metabolic syndrome (MS) has a greater impact on these vascular parameters than individual components of MS. Background Intima-media thickness (IMT) and vascular stiffness have been shown to be independent predictors of adverse cardiovascular events. The MS is defined as the clustering of three or more of the cardiovascular risk factors of dysglycemia, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and obesity. Methods Carotid IMT and stiffness were derived via B-mode ultrasonography in 471 participants from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging, who were without clinical cardiovascular disease and not receiving antihypertensive therapy. Results The MS conferred a disproportionate increase in carotid IMT (+16%, p <0.0001) and stiffness (+32%, p <0.0001), compared with control subjects. Multiple regression models, which included age, gender, smoking, low-density lipoprotein, as well as each individual component of MS as continuous variables, showed that MS was an independent determinant of both IMT (p = 0.002) and stiffness (p = 0.012). The MS was associated with a greater prevalence of subjects whose values were in the highest quartiles of IMT, stiffness, or both. Conclusions Even after taking into account each individual component of MS, the clustering of at least three of these components is independently associated with increased IMT and stiffness. This suggests that the components of MS interact to synergistically impact vascular thickness and stiffness. Future studies should examine whether the excess cardiovascular risk associated with MS is partly mediated through the amplified alterations in these vascular properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1388-1395
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 21 2004


  • Advanced glycation end products
  • AGEPs
  • Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging
  • Blood pressure
  • BLSA
  • BP
  • CCA
  • Common carotid artery
  • DBP
  • Diastolic blood pressure
  • HDL
  • High-density lipoprotein
  • IMT
  • Intima-media thickness
  • LDL
  • Low-density lipoprotein
  • MS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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