TGF-β1 content in atherosclerotic plaques, TGF-β1 serum concentrations and incident coronary events

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We tested the hypothesis that high TGF-β1 content in atherosclerotic plaques and high TGF-β1 serum levels are associated with lower risk of coronary events in two independent prospective studies.

Materials and methods

In the prospective Athero-Express biobank study, total TGF-β1 plaque levels were measured in 632 atherosclerotic lesions from patients who underwent carotid endarterectomy. In a population-based case-cohort study within the Monitoring of trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease (MONICA)/Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) Augsburg studies, baseline total TGF-β1 serum levels were measured in 333 individuals with and 1728 without incident coronary events.


Patients with TGF-β1 content in their plaques above the study median did not have a lower risk of coronary events than patients with lower TGF-β1 levels [adjusted HR (95% CI) 1·46 (0·83–2·53); P = 0·16; mean follow-up 2·6 ± 0·7 years] in the Athero-Express biobank study. Cox proportional hazard models adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, metabolic factors, lifestyle factors and survey did not reveal a significant association between TGF-β1 serum levels and incident coronary events [HR (95% CI) for increasing TGF-β1 tertiles 1·0, 1·22 (0·88–1·68), 1·13 (0·82–1·57); P = 0·47; mean follow-up: 10·8 ± 4·6 years] in the MONICA/KORA Augsburg studies.


Our results indicate that high TGF-β1 content in human atherosclerotic plaques and high serum levels of TGF-β1 are not associated with reduced risk of coronary events.

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