The role of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) function in cardiovascular disease represents an important emerging concept. The present study investigated whether HDL anti-inflammatory capacity is prospectively associated with first cardiovascular events in the general population.
HDL anti-inflammatory capacity was determined as its ability to suppress TNF alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha)-induced VCAM-1 (vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) mRNA expression in endothelial cells in vitro (results expressed as achieved percent reduction by individual HDL related to the maximum TNF alpha effect with no HDL present). In a nested case-control design of the PREVEND (Prevention of Renal and Vascular End Stage Disease) study, 369 cases experiencing a first cardiovascular event (combined end point of death from cardiovascular causes, ischemic heart disease, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and coronary revascularization) during a median of 10.5 years of follow-up were identified and individually matched to 369 controls with respect to age, sex, smoking status, and HDL cholesterol. Baseline samples were available in 340 cases and 340 matched controls.
HDL anti-inflammatory capacity was not correlated with HDL cholesterol or hsCRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein). HDL anti-inflammatory capacity was significantly lower in cases compared with controls (31.6% [15.7-44.2] versus 27.0% [7.4-36.1]; P0.05). When combining these 2 HDL function metrics in 1 model, both were significantly and independently associated with incident cardiovascular disease in a fully adjusted model (efflux: OR per 1 SD, 0.74; P=0.002; anti-inflammatory capacity: OR per 1 SD, 0.66; P
The HDL anti-inflammatory capacity, reflecting vascular protection against key steps in atherogenesis, was inversely associated with incident cardiovascular events in a general population cohort, independent of HDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol efflux capacity. Adding HDL anti-inflammatory capacity to the Framingham risk score improves risk prediction.