Soluble TWEAK and Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events in Patients with CKD
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Soluble TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (sTWEAK) is a proinflammatory cytokine belonging to the TNF superfamily. sTWEAK concentrations have been associated with the presence of CKD and cardiovascular disease (CVD). We hypothesized that sTWEAK levels may relate
to a higher prevalence of atherosclerotic plaques, vascular calcification, and cardiovascular outcomes observed in patients with CKD. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: A 4-year prospective, multicenter, longitudinal study was conducted in 1058 patients with CKD stages 3-5D (mean age =58±13 years old; 665 men) but without any history of CVD from the NEFRONA Study (a study design on the prevalence of surrogate markers of CVD). Ankle-brachial index and B-mode ultrasound were performed to detect the presence of carotid and/or femoral atherosclerotic plaques together with biochemical measurements and sTWEAK assessment. Patients were followed for cardiovascular outcomes (follow-up of 3.13±1.15 years). RESULTS: Patients with more advanced CKD had lower sTWEAK levels. sTWEAK concentrations were independently and negatively associated with carotid intima-media thickness. sTWEAK levels were lower in patients with carotid atherosclerotic plaques but not in those with femoral plaques. After adjustment by confounders, the odds ratio (OR) for presenting carotid atherosclerotic plaques in patients in the lowest versus highest tertile of sTWEAK was 4.18 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.89 to 6.08; P<0.001). Furthermore, sTWEAK levels were lower in patients with calcified carotid atherosclerotic plaques. The OR for presenting calcified carotid plaques was 1.77 (95% CI, 1.06 to 2.93; P=0.02) after multivariable adjustment. After the follow-up, 41 fatal and 68 nonfatal cardiovascular events occurred. In a Cox model, after controlling for potential confounding factors, patients in the lowest tertile of sTWEAK concentrations had a higher risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events (hazard ratio [HR], 2.40; 95% CI, 1.33 to 4.33; P=0.004) and cardiovascular mortality (HR, 2.67; 95% CI, 1.05 to 6.76; P=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Low sTWEAK levels were associated with the presence of carotid atherosclerotic plaques in patients with CKD. Additionally, lower sTWEAK levels were associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.