Eosinophil Cationic Protein, Carotid Plaque, and Incidence of Stroke

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

ECP (eosinophil cationic protein) is a marker of eosinophil activity and degranulation, which has been linked to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. We examined the relationship between ECP, carotid plaque, and incidence of stroke in a prospective population-based cohort.

Methods—

The subjects participated in the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study between 1991 and 1994. A total of 4706 subjects with no history of stroke were included (40% men; mean age, 57.5 years). Carotid plaque was determined by B-mode ultrasound of the right carotid artery. Incidence of stroke was followed up during a mean period of 16.5 years in relation to plasma ECP levels.

Results—

Subjects in the third tertile (versus first tertile) of ECP tended to have higher prevalence of carotid plaque (odds ratio: 1.18; 95% confidence interval: 1.003–1.39; P=0.044 after multivariate adjustments). A total of 258 subjects were diagnosed with ischemic stroke (IS) during follow-up. ECP was associated with increased incidence of IS after risk factor adjustment (hazard ratio, 1.57; 95% confidence interval: 1.13–2.18; for third versus first tertile; P=0.007). High ECP was associated with increased risk of IS in subjects with carotid plaque. The risk factor–adjusted hazard ratio for IS was 1.86 (95% confidence interval: 1.32–2.63) in subjects with carotid plaque and ECP in the top tertile, compared with those without plaque and ECP in the first or second tertiles.

Conclusions—

High ECP is associated with increased incidence of IS. The association between ECP and IS was also present in the subgroup with carotid plaque.

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