Recent evidence suggests that even a slight increase in the plasma level of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) may be a marker of cardiovascular risk; however, the mechanisms underlying the association are currently unclear. Because increased arterial stiffness, as reflected by an increase of the pulse wave velocity (PWV) or pulse pressure (PP), may contribute to increasing plasma BNP levels, in the present study we investigated the relationships between the plasma BNP level and the PWV and PP, all of which are known markers of cardiovascular risk, in a healthy male Japanese cohort.Methods:
This was a cross-sectional study of 725 healthy Japanese men (age, 54 ± 4 years). The PWV was assessed by the volume-rendering method. Plasma BNP levels were determined with a high-sensitivity noncompetitive immunoradiometric assay.Results:
A univariate linear regression analysis demonstrated that the plasma BNP level was significantly correlated with age (r = 0.20, P < .01), PWV (r = 0.12, P < .01), and PP (r = 0.17, P < .01). A stepwise multivariate linear regression analysis demonstrated that both the PWV and PP were significantly associated with the plasma BNP level, independent of age.Conclusion:
In healthy Japanese men, stiffening of large arteries, as evidenced by an increase of the PWV or PP, may account at least in part for elevated plasma BNP levels, even within the so-called normal range.