BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Cardiovascular diseases account for the largest fraction of smoking-induced deaths. Studies of smoking in relation to cardiovascular-related protein markers can provide novel insights into the biological effects of smoking. We investigated the associations between cigarette smoking and 80 protein markers known to be related to cardiovascular diseases in two community-based cohorts, the Prospective Study of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS, n = 969, 50% women, all aged 70 years) and the Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men (ULSAM, n = 717, all men aged 77 years).
METHODS: Smoking status was self-reported and defined as current smoker, former smoker or never-smoker. Levels of the 80 proteins were measured using the proximity extension assay, a novel PCR-based proteomics technique.
RESULTS: We found 30 proteins to be significantly associated with current cigarette smoking in PIVUS (FDR<5%); and ten were replicated in ULSAM (p < 0.05). Matrix metalloproteinase-12 (MMP-12), growth/differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15), urokinase plasminogen activator surface receptor (uPAR), TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor 2 (TRAIL-R2), lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor 1 (LOX-1), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), matrix metalloproteinase-10 (MMP-10) and matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) were positively associated, while endothelial cell-specific molecule 1 (ESM-1) and interleukin-27 subunit alpha (IL27-A) showed inverse associations. All of them remained significant in a subset of individuals without manifest cardiovascular disease.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings of the present study suggest that cigarette smoking may interfere with several essential parts of the atherosclerosis process, as evidenced by associations with protein markers representing endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, neointimal formation, foam cell formation and plaque instability.
2016. Vol. 254, 52-58 p.