Aims Tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) is a proinflammatory cytokine, which is implicated in some metabolic disorders and may play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. We examined whether plasma TNF-α is related to established cardiovascular risk indicators, plasma levels of soluble cellular adhesion molecules and carotid artery intima–media thickness determined by ultrasound examination in a population-based cohort of 96 healthy 50-year-old men.
Methods and Results TNF-α and cellular adhesion molecules were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Plasma TNF-α concentration was associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure, degrees of alimentary lipaemia, plasma very low density lipoprotein triglyceride, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations and peak LDL particle size. Two indices of insulin resistance as well as all soluble cellular adhesion molecules correlated positively with TNF-α. The plasma TNF-α concentration was associated with common carotid intima–media thickness in univariate analysis. In contrast, soluble E-selectin and postprandial triglycerides, but not TNF-α, were independent determinants of common carotid intima–media thickness.
Conclusion The plasma TNF-α concentration is associated with degrees of early atherosclerosis and correlates with metabolic and cellular perturbations that are considered important for the vascular process.