Relations of circulating GDF-15, soluble ST2, and troponin-I concentrations with vascular function in the community: The Framingham Heart Study

Atherosclerosis. 2016 May:248:245-51. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2016.02.013. Epub 2016 Feb 18.


Background and aims: Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15), soluble (s)ST2, and high-sensitivity troponin-I (hs-TnI) are associated with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) including heart failure, yet the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. We investigated if GDF-15, sST2, and hs-TnI are related to subclinical vascular dysfunction in the community, which may explain the relations of these biomarkers with CVD.

Methods: We evaluated 1823 Framingham Study participants (mean age 61 ± 10 years, 54% women) who underwent routine assessment of vascular function. We related circulating GDF-15, sST2, and hs-TnI concentrations to measures of arterial stiffness (carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, CFPWV; augmentation index; and forward pressure wave amplitude, FW), endothelial-dependent vasodilation (flow-mediated dilation, FMD), and baseline and hyperemic brachial flow velocities using linear regression adjusting for standard risk factors.

Results: After multivariable adjustment, GDF-15 levels were positively associated with CFPWV (0.044 [95% confidence interval 0.007-0.081] standard deviation [SD] change per SD increase in loge[GDF-15], p = 0.02) and FW (0.076 [0.026-0.126] SD change per SD increase in loge[GDF-15], p = 0.003) and inversely related to FMD (-0.051 [-0.101-0.0003] SD change per SD increase in loge[GDF-15], p = 0.048). sST2 was positively associated with CFPWV (0.032 [0.0005-0.063] SD change per SD increase in loge[sST2], p = 0.046), and hs-TnI inversely associated with hyperemic flow velocity (-0.041 [-0.082-0.0004] SD change per SD increase in loge[hs-TnI], p = 0.048).

Conclusion: In our community-based investigation, individual cardiac stress biomarkers were differentially related to select aspects of vascular function. These findings may contribute to the associations of circulating GDF-15, sST2, and hs-TnI with incident CVD and heart failure.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Endothelial function; GDF-15; General population; ST2; Troponin I; Vascular stiffness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Growth Differentiation Factor 15 / blood*
  • Heart Failure / blood
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Troponin I / blood*
  • Vascular Stiffness


  • Biomarkers
  • GDF15 protein, human
  • Growth Differentiation Factor 15
  • IL1RL1 protein, human
  • Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein
  • Troponin I
  • Creatinine