Cardiovascular Biomarkers and Subclinical Brain Disease in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study
Background and Purpose—Cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease share common risk factors. Our goal was to determine whether levels of N-terminal brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and cardiac troponin T measured with a highly sensitive assay (hs-cTnT) are associated with silent brain infarcts (BIs) and white matter lesions (WMLs) on MRI in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.
Methods—At ARIC visit 3 (1993–1995), 1920 participants had brain MRI. NT-proBNP and hs-cTnT were measured in all individuals at ARIC visit 4 (1996–1998). Of 1920 individuals, 1112 had a follow-up MRI [2004–2006]). We analyzed the association of NT-proBNP and hs-cTnT with MRI-defined BI and WML on the initial MRI and incident BI and WML progression on the follow-up MRI in participants without heart failure, coronary heart disease, or stroke.
Results—In the adjusted model, individuals in the highest NT-proBNP quartile had significantly more BI (odds ratio, 3.50; 95% confidence interval, 2.03–6.20), and WML (β-coefficient, 0.09; SE, 0.03) on the baseline MRI and more incident BI (odds ratio, 2.18; 95% confidence interval, 1.38–3.47) and WML progression (β-coefficient, 0.22; SE, 0.10) on the follow-up MRI. Individuals in the highest hs-cTnT category had more BI (odds ratio, 3.03; 95% confidence interval, 1.57–5.82) and WML (β-coefficient, 0.11; SE, 0.04) on the initial MRI and more WML progression (β-coefficient, 0.43; SE, 0.17) on the follow-up MRI.
Conclusions—NT-proBNP and hs-cTnT are independently associated with silent MRI-defined BI and WML, suggesting that cardiovascular biomarkers may be useful to identify individuals with subclinical cerebral injury.
- Received February 13, 2013.
- Accepted April 10, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.