Objective: We examined the association of circulating levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecules (sICAM-1) and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecules (sVCAM-1) with coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and whether the adhesion molecules alone, and in combination, can serve as predictors of coronary CHD.
Research methods and procedures: Among 18,225 men from the Health Professional Follow-up Study who provided blood in 1994, we documented 266 incidents of non-fatal myocardial infarction or fatal CHD during 6 years of follow-up. The cases were matched 1:2 with non-cases on age, smoking, and month of blood draw. We found both adhesion molecules directly associated with BMI, inflammatory biomarkers, and triglycerides and inversely associated with high-density lipoprotein and alcohol intake (p < 0.05). After adjustment for C-reactive protein, cholesterol-to-high-density lipoprotein ratio, age, smoking, BMI, physical activity, alcohol intake, history of diabetes, parental history of CHD, aspirin use, antihypertensive drug use, and fasting status, the relative risk of CHD was 1.69 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.14 to 2.51] for sICAM-1 and 1.34 (95% CI, 0.91 to 1.96) for sVCAM-1, when comparing the top quintile with the lower four quintiles. Control for other inflammatory or lipid biomarkers did not appreciably attenuate the associations. When we cross-classified participants based on their sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 levels, only the men in the top quintile of both biomarkers [relative risk = 2.39 (95% CI, 1.45 to 3.91)] had a significantly elevated risk of CHD (P interaction = 0.01, multivariate model).
Discussion: sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 are directly associated with obesity and other CHD risk factors. The combination of high levels of both adhesion molecules might be associated with the development of CHD, independent of other CHD risk factors.