Objective: The role of Galectin-3(Gal-3) in atherosclerosis progression has not been definitely acknowledged. The aim of the study was to establish the following: whether Gal-3 may act as an independent risk factor of coronary artery disease (CAD) occurrence and its advancement, if Gal-3 has potential relations with classical and new markers of cardiovascular risk (carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), and whether Gal-3 may be a marker of mortality in the group of patients with myocardial infarction (MI) during mid-term follow-up.
Patients and methods: The study group was composed of 233 patients with MI and 100 patients with a stable CAD. Selected risk factors were assessed, Gal-3 concentrations and cIMT were measured. The control group was composed of 100 healthy individuals.
Results: In the study group (MI and CAD patients) Gal-3 concentration was significantly higher than in the controls--median 7.9 ng/ml (p = 0.0001) and 10.7 ng/ml (p = 0.00001) vs. 5.5 ng/ml, respectively. Patients with 3-vessel disease had higher levels of Gal-3 than patients with 1-or 2-vessel disease (9.2 ng/ml vs 7.4 ng/ml, p = 0.003). In the group of MI patients who died during the follow-up (average period - 2.8 years), we found a significantly higher concentration of Gal-3 (20.0 ng/ml vs 8.0 ng/ml, p = 0.0005) and cIMT values (common carotid artery(CCA): 1.4 ± 0.4 mm vs. 1.0 ± 0.3 mm, p = 0.03; carotid bulb(CB): 2.3 ± 0.5 mm vs. 1.9 ± 0.4 mm, p = 0.009). In the model of multivariate logistic regression analysis, the variables influencing the mortality after MI during follow-up were: age>65 years, Gal-3 concentration>8.7 ng/ml, IMT values and plaque occurrence in CB, previous MI and EF<40%.
Conclusions: Gal-3 is an independent risk factor of CAD occurrence, but cIMT values are better markers of CAD advancement. Both Gal-3 concentration>8.7 ng/ml and IMT values in CB were an independent predictive indicators of increased risk of all-cause mortality in patients after MI during mid-term follow up.
Keywords: Acute coronary syndromes; Galectin-3; Intima-media thickness; Stable coronary artery disease.
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