Relation of the Bilateral Earlobe Crease to Endothelial Dysfunction

Am J Cardiol. 2017 Jun 15;119(12):1983-1988. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2017.03.029. Epub 2017 Mar 29.


The presence of an earlobe crease (ELC) may be a simple sign to predict atherosclerosis. We evaluated the relation between ELC and vascular function. We measured flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) and nitroglycerine-induced vasodilation (NID) and observed bilateral earlobes in 400 consecutive subjects. At first, the subjects were divided into 3 groups: non-ELC group, unilateral ELC group, and bilateral ELC group. FMD and NID were significantly lower in the unilateral and bilateral ELC groups than those in the non-ELC group. After adjustment of cardiovascular risk factors, bilateral ELC, but not unilateral ELC, was associated with lower FMD and lower NID. We also investigated whether an increase in the number of ELCs worsens endothelial function, whether the difference in ELC structure (cross stripes and/or ramification) affects endothelial function, and whether endothelial function is impaired in subjects with superficial wrinkles depending on age. The number of ELCs, shape of the ELC, and superficial wrinkles were not associated with endothelial dysfunction. In conclusion, these findings suggest that the presence of bilateral ELCs is associated with vascular dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Ear, External*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vasodilation / physiology*