CD14 is a glycosylphosphotidylinositol-anchored membrane glycoprotein expressed on neutrophils and monocytes/macrophages that also circulates as a soluble form (sCD14). Despite the well-recognized role of CD14 in inflammation, relatively little is known about the genetic determinants of sCD14 or the relationship of sCD14 to vascular- and aging-related phenotypes.Methods and Results—
We measured baseline levels of sCD14 in >5000 European-American and black adults aged 65 years and older from the Cardiovascular Health Study, who were well characterized at baseline for atherosclerotic risk factors and subclinical cardiovascular disease, and who have been followed for clinical cardiovascular disease and mortality outcomes up to 20 years. At baseline, sCD14 generally showed strong positive correlations with traditional cardio-metabolic risk factors and with subclinical measures of vascular disease such as carotid wall thickness and ankle-brachial index (independently of traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors), and was also inversely correlated with body mass index. In genomewide association analyses of sCD14, we (1) confirmed the importance of the CD14 locus on chromosome 5q21 in European-American; (2) identified a novel African ancestry-specific allele of CD14 associated with lower sCD14 in blacks; and (3) identified a putative novel association in European-American of a nonsynonymous variant of PIGC, which encodes an enzyme required for the first step in glycosylphosphotidylinositol anchor biosynthesis. Finally, we show that, like other acute phase inflammatory biomarkers, sCD14 predicts incident cardiovascular disease, and strongly and independently predicts all-cause mortality in older adults.Conclusion—
CD14 independently predicts risk mortality in older adults.