Skin Autofluorescence, a Non-Invasive Marker for AGE Accumulation, Is Associated with the Degree of Atherosclerosis
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INTRODUCTION: Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) may be involved in the development of atherosclerosis, beyond diabetes and renal disease. Skin autofluorescence (AF) is a non-invasive marker for AGEs. We examined whether skin AF is increased in (subclinical) atherosclerosis and associated with the degree of atherosclerosis independent of diabetes and renal function. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 223 patients referred for primary (n = 163) or secondary (n = 60) prevention between 2006 and 2012 was performed. Skin AF was measured using the AGE-Reader. Ultrasonography was used to assess plaques in carotid and femoral arteries and computed tomography for the calculation of the coronary artery calcium score (CACS; in primary prevention only). Primary prevention patients were divided into a group with subclinical atherosclerosis defined as >1 plaque or CACS>100 (n = 67; age 53 year [interquartile range 48-56]; 49% male) and without (controls; 96; 43 [38-51]; 55%). Secondary prevention were patients with peripheral arterial disease (60; 64 [58-70]; 73%). RESULTS: Skin AF was higher in subclinical and clinical atherosclerosis compared with controls (skin AF 2.11 [interquartile range 1.83-2.46] and 2.71 [2.15-3.27] vs. 1.87 [1.68-2.12] respectively; P = 0.005 and <0.001). In a multivariate analysis, the association of skin AF with the atherosclerosis categories was independent of age, sex, diabetes, presence of the metabolic syndrome, Framingham Risk Score, and renal function. Skin AF correlated with most cardiovascular risk factors, Framingham risk score, and IMT and CACS. CONCLUSIONS: Skin AF is increased in documented subclinical and clinical atherosclerosis, independent of known risk factors such as diabetes and renal disease. These data suggest that AGEs may be associated with the burden of atherosclerosis and warrant a prospective study to investigate its clinical usability as a risk assessment tool for primary prevention.
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