Plasma oxidized low-density lipoprotein levels and arterial stiffness in older adults: the health, aging, and body composition study

Hypertension. 2009 May;53(5):846-52. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.108.127043. Epub 2009 Mar 30.


Arterial stiffness is a prominent feature of vascular aging and is strongly related to cardiovascular disease. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL), a key player in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, may also play a role in arterial stiffening, but this relationship has not been well studied. Thus, we examined the cross-sectional association between ox-LDL and aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), a marker of arterial stiffness, in community-dwelling older adults. Plasma ox-LDL levels and aPWV were measured in 2295 participants (mean age: 74 years; 52% female; 40% black) from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study. Mean aPWV significantly increased across tertiles of ox-LDL (tertile 1: 869+/-376 cm/s; tertile 2: 901+/-394 cm/s; tertile 3: 938+/-415 cm/s; P=0.002). In multivariate analyses, ox-LDL remained associated with aPWV after adjustment for demographics and traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors (P=0.008). After further adjustment for hemoglobin A1c, abdominal visceral fat, antihypertensive and antilipemic medications, and C-reactive protein, the association with ox-LDL was attenuated but remained significant (P=0.01). Results were similar when ox-LDL was expressed in absolute (milligrams per deciliter) or relative amounts (percentage of low-density lipoprotein). Moreover, individuals in the highest ox-LDL tertile were 30% to 55% more likely to have high arterial stiffness, defined as aPWV >75th percentile (P<or=0.02). In conclusion, we found that, among elderly persons, elevated plasma ox-LDL levels were associated with higher arterial stiffness, independent of cardiovascular disease risk factors. These data suggest that ox-LDL may be related to the pathogenesis of arterial stiffness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Aorta / physiology*
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Body Composition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male


  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein