Objective: D-dimer and von Willebrand factor (vWF) are associated with atherosclerosis. We recently reported that in a post-World War II birth cohort, Japanese men in Japan had lower levels of atherosclerosis than white men in the United States (U.S.). We examined whether the differences in D-dimer and vWF levels are associated with differences in atherosclerosis between the two populations.
Methods and results: Population-based samples of 99 Japanese and 100 white American men aged 40-49 years were examined for coronary artery calcification (CAC), carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), D-dimer, vWF, and other factors using a standardized protocol. When compared to white American men,Japanese had similar levels of D-dimer (0.22 +/- 0.28 vs. 0.19 +/- 0.24 microg/L, respectively, P = 0.39) but significantly higher levels of vWF (124.1 +/- 36.6 vs. 91.3 +/- 48.8%, respectively, P < 0.01). Japanese as compared to white American men had significantly lower prevalence of CAC (13.1 vs. 28.0%, P < 0.01, respectively) and significantly lower IMT (0.61 +/- 0.07 vs. 0.66 +/- 0.08 mm, P < 0.01, respectively). Japanese men had a significant positive association of D-dimer with the prevalence of CAC and a negative association of vWF with IMT, whereas white American men did not have any significant associations.
Conclusions: In men aged 40-49 years, Japanese as compared to white Americans had similar levels of D-dimer and higher levels of vWF although Japanese had a significantly lower prevalence of CAC and IMT. These haemostatic factors are unlikely to explain the difference in atherosclerosis in these populations.