Background: In vitro and animal studies demonstrate that myeloperoxidase catalytically consumes nitric oxide as a substrate, limiting its bioavailability and function. We therefore hypothesized that circulating levels of myeloperoxidase would predict risk of endothelial dysfunction in human subjects.
Methods and results: Serum myeloperoxidase was measured by enzyme-linked immunoassay, and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation and nitroglycerin-mediated dilation were determined by ultrasound in a hospital-based population of 298 subjects participating in an ongoing study of the clinical correlates of endothelial dysfunction (age, 51+/-16; 61% men, 51% with cardiovascular disease). A strong inverse relation between brachial artery flow-mediated dilation and increasing quartile of serum myeloperoxidase level was observed (11.0+/-6.0%, 9.4+/-5.3%, 8.6+/-5.8%, and 6.4+/-4.5% for quartiles 1 through 4, respectively; P<0.001 for trend). Using the median as a cut point to define endothelial dysfunction, increasing quartile of myeloperoxidase predicted endothelial dysfunction after adjustment for classic cardiovascular disease risk factors, C-reactive protein levels, prevalence of cardiovascular disease, and ongoing treatment with cardiovascular medications (OR, 6.4; 95% CI, 2.6 to 16; P=0.001 for highest versus lowest quartile).
Conclusions: Serum myeloperoxidase levels serve as a strong and independent predictor of endothelial dysfunction in human subjects. Myeloperoxidase-mediated endothelial dysfunction may be an important mechanistic link between oxidation, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease.