Association between IL-6 and the extent of coronary atherosclerosis in the veterans affairs diabetes trial (VADT)

Atherosclerosis. 2009 Apr;203(2):610-4. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.07.031. Epub 2008 Aug 5.


Aims: The aim of the present study was to investigate the association of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) with the extent of calcified coronary atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Materials and results: This is a cross-sectional study of 306 subjects aged 40years or older who were enrolled into the veterans affairs diabetes trial (VADT). Calcified coronary atherosclerosis was assessed using electron beam computed tomography scored by the Agatston method. Clinical parameters, traditional cardiovascular risk factors and plasma levels of CRP, IL-6 and Lp-PLA2 were measured at the time of the scan. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores increased stepwise across increasing categories of IL-6, but did not change across increasing categories of CRP and Lp-PLA2. After adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, IL-6 was significantly associated with CAC scores (p=0.05). The association between IL-6 and CAC was largely in those with lower (below the median) abdominal artery calcium (AAC) levels (p=0.04).

Conclusions: Despite a generally higher level of systemic inflammation in T2DM, the inflammatory marker IL-6 remained significantly associated with CAC score, particularly in those subjects with lower AAC scores.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase / metabolism*
  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / immunology
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Calcinosis / pathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors


  • Interleukin-6
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • 1-Alkyl-2-acetylglycerophosphocholine Esterase