The relation of RAAS activity and endothelin-1 levels to coronary atherosclerotic burden and microvascular dysfunction in chest pain patients

Ruurt A. Jukema, Ruben W. de Winter, Pepijn A. van Diemen, Roel S. Driessen, A. H. Jan Danser, Ingrid M. Garrelds, Pieter G. Raijmakers, Peter M. van de Ven, Paul Knaapen, Ibrahim Danad, Guus A. de Waard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and aims: In this study, we investigated whether increased renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) activation and endothelin-1 levels are related to coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, total plaque volume (TPV), high risk plaque, hyperemic myocardial blood flow (MBF) and coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD). Methods: In a prospective, observational, cross-sectional cohort, renin as a marker for RAAS activation and endothelin-1 were measured in peripheral venous blood of 205 patients (64% men; age 58 ± 8.7 years) with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD) who underwent coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA), [ 15O]H 2O positron emission tomography (PET) perfusion imaging and invasive fractional flow reserve (FFR) measurements. Patients were categorized into three groups based on FFR (≤0.80) and hyperemic MBF <2.3 ml/min/g: [1] obstructive CAD (n = 92), [2] CMD (n = 26) or [3] no or non-obstructive CAD (n = 85). Results: After correction for baseline characteristics, including RAAS inhibiting therapy, renin associated positively with CAC score and TPV, but not with hyperemic MBF (p < 0.01; p = 0.02 and p = 0.23). Patients with high risk plaque displayed higher levels of renin (mean logarithmic renin 1.25 ± 0.43 vs. 1.12 ± 0.35 pg/ml; p = 0.04), but not endothelin-1. Compared to no or non-obstructive CAD patients, renin was significantly elevated in obstructive CAD patients but not in CMD patients (mean logarithmic renin 1.06 ± 0.34 vs. 1.23 ± 0.36; p < 0.01 and 1.06 ± 0.34 vs. 1.16 ± 0.41 pg/ml; p = 0.65). Endothelin-1 did not differ between the three patient groups. Conclusions: Our report provides evidence that RAAS activity measured by renin concentration is elevated in patients with coronary atherosclerosis and high risk plaque but not in patients with CMD, whereas endothelin-1 is not related to either.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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