Background: The Fas-Fas ligand (FasL) system is involved in apoptosis in many types of cells. Recently, the expression of FasL on endothelial cells was reported. FasL is cleaved by a metalloproteinase and released in serum as soluble FasL (sFasL). Vasoactive substances, including metalloproteinase, are modulated by endothelial dysfunction. Advanced atherosclerosis and impaired endothelial function are seen in hypertensive patients. The inflammatory response has an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, whereas C-reactive protein (CRP) is associated with the presence and severity of atherosclerosis.
Objective: To measure the intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery and evaluate the relationship between atherosclerosis and serum sFasL concentrations in hypertensive patients.
Patients and main outcome measures: Forty-seven patients with hypertension participated in the study. The intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery was evaluated by ultrasound imaging. Serum concentrations of sFasL were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: Intima-media thickness correlated positively with age (r = 0.362, P = 0.012) and sFasL concentrations (r =0.332, P = 0.022), and negatively with creatinine clearance (r = -0.399, P = 0.0055). A general linear model analysis with atherosclerotic risk factors and sFasL revealed that age, sFasL, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and systolic blood pressure were significantly associated with intima-media thickness. Furthermore, we demonstrated that serum sFasL is directly associated with CRP concentration (r = 0.316, P = 0.030).
Conclusions: These results indicated that serum sFasL concentration is associated with atherosclerosis and inflammatory disease, in patients with hypertension.