Background and aims: While folate is known for its importance in cardiovascular health, it is unknown whether folate status can modify the association between low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT). We aimed to investigate this question in a Chinese hypertensive population, who are at high-risk of low folate and atherosclerosis. Methods and results: This report included 14,970 hypertensive adults (mean age 64.5 years; 40.3% male) from the China Stroke Primary Prevention Trial (CSPPT) and analyzed the fasting serum LDL-C and folate, and CIMT data obtained at the last follow-up visit. LDL-C was calculated using the Friedewald equation. Serum folate levels were measured by chemiluminescent immunoassay. CIMT was measured by ultrasound. Non-parametric smoothing plots, multivariate linear regression analysis, subgroup analyses and interaction testing were performed to examine the LDL-C–CIMI relationship and effect modification by folate. Consistent with graphic plots, multivariate linear regression showed that LDL-C levels were independently and positively associated with CIMT (β = 7.69, 95%CI: 5.76–9.62). More importantly, the relationship between LDL-C and CIMT was significantly attenuated with increasing serum folate levels (1st tertile: β = 10.06, 95%CI: 6.67–13.46; 2nd tertile: β = 6.81, 95%CI: 3.55–10.07; 3rd tertile: β = 5.96, 95%CI: 2.55–9.36; P-interaction = 0.045). Subgroup analyses showed the association between LDL-C and CIMT across serum folate tertiles was robust among various strata (all P-interaction >0.05). Conclusions: Among Chinese hypertensive adults, the serum folate levels could modify the association between LDL-C and CIMT. Our findings, if further confirmed, have important clinical implications.
- Carotid intima-media thickness
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine