Silveira A, McLeod O, Strawbridge RJ, Gertow K, Sennblad B, Baldassarre D, Veglia F, Deleskog A, Persson J, Leander K, Gigante B, Kauhanen J, Rauramaa R, Smit AJ, Mannarino E, Giral P, Gustafsson S, Söderberg S, Öhrvik J, Humphries SE, Tremoli E, de Faire U, Hamsten A
Atherosclerosis 239 (1) 125-130 [2015-03-00; online 2014-12-23]
Genetic variants robustly associated with coronary artery disease were reported in the vicinity of the interleukin (IL)-5 locus, and animal studies suggested a protective role for IL-5 in atherosclerosis. Therefore, we set this work to explore IL-5 as a plasma biomarker for early subclinical atherosclerosis, as determined by measures of baseline severity and change over time of carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). We used biobank and databases of IMPROVE, a large European prospective cohort study of high-risk individuals (n = 3534) free of clinically overt cardiovascular disease at enrollment, in whom composite and segment-specific measures of cIMT were recorded at baseline and after 15 and 30 months. IL-5 was measured with an immunoassay in plasma samples taken at baseline. IL-5 levels were lower in women than in men, lower in the South than in North of Europe, and showed positive correlations with most established risk factors. IL-5 showed significant inverse relationships with cIMT change over time in the common carotid segment in women, but no significant relationships to baseline cIMT in either men or women. Our results suggest that IL-5 may be part of protective mechanisms operating in early atherosclerosis, at least in women. However, the relationships are weak and whereas IL-5 has been proposed as a potential molecular target to treat allergies, it is difficult to envisage such a scenario in coronary artery disease.