Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is a component of the development of atherosclerosis. Coronary computed tomography scanning (CCT) can detect calcification and may be useful in individuals considered asymptomatic. Oxidative stress and inflammation are linked through common pathways and both are thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. To investigate if CAC was associated with increased oxidative stress (plasma F2-isoprostanes) and inflammation (high sensitivity C-reactive protein [hs-CRP]), we invited 102 self-selected individuals (mean age 52+/-7 years) who were undergoing CCT to take part in a study. Height, weight and clinic blood pressure was measured, a blood sample taken and a health and lifestyle questionnaire completed.
CAC was found to be positively correlated with age (p<0.01) and alcohol intake (p<0.001). There was a trend for higher CAC in men compared to women (p=0.08). CAC was higher in ex- and current smokers versus non-smokers (115+/-45 vs. 28+/-12 Agatston score, p=0.05), and lower in non-drinkers versus drinkers (18+/-17 vs. 90+/-29 Agatston score, p=0.03). There were no univariate correlations between CAC and plasma F2-isoprostanes (p=0.25) or HS-CRP (p=0.36). In multivariate analysis, age, male gender and alcohol intake remained independent predictors of CAC. We concluded that CAC was not associated with inflammation or oxidative stress, but was related to lifestyle factors including; age, gender and alcohol consumption.
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