Inverse association between serum concentrations of neopterin and antioxidants in patients with and without angiographic coronary artery disease

Atherosclerosis. 2009 Feb;202(2):543-9. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.04.047. Epub 2008 May 15.


Neopterin is released from human monocyte-derived macrophages upon stimulation with interferon-gamma and is a sensitive indicator for cellular immune activation. Furthermore, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced in case of immune activation and inflammation. In a cross-sectional approach, plasma concentrations of neopterin and of antioxidant compounds and vitamins were compared in 1463 patients investigated by coronary angiography, which were recruited within the LUdwigshafen RIsk and Cardiovascular Health (LURIC) study. Serum neopterin concentrations were higher in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD; mean+/-S.D.: 8.7+/-7.3 nmol/L) compared to controls (7.4+/-5.0 nmol/L; Welch's t-test: p<0.001). Mean concentrations of ascorbic acid (p<0.0001), gamma-tocopherol (p<0.05), lycopene (p<0.001), lutein+zeaxanthin (p<0.05), alpha-carotene (p<0.05) and beta-carotene (p<0.05) were lower in CAD than in controls. Neopterin concentrations correlated with CAD-score (r(s)=0.156; p<0.0001) and inversely with antioxidants lycopene (r(s)=-0.277; p<0.0001) and lutein+zeaxanthin (r(s)=-0.175; p<0.0001) levels and with vitamins ascorbic acid (r(s)=-0.207; p<0.0001) and alpha-tocopherol (r(s)=-0.105; p<0.0001). The study demonstrates that higher neopterin production is associated with lower concentrations of antioxidant compounds in patients at risk for atherosclerosis. Results suggest that lower concentrations of antioxidant compounds may relate to higher grade of chronic immune activation in patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Carotenoids / blood
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease / blood*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lutein / blood
  • Lycopene
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neopterin / blood*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Xanthophylls / blood
  • Young Adult
  • Zeaxanthins
  • beta Carotene / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Xanthophylls
  • Zeaxanthins
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids
  • alpha-carotene
  • Neopterin
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein