19 September 2023

Ethnicity is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. For example, South Asians have a higher risk of getting a heart attack than White Europeans. Traditional risk factors, such as smoking or a high blood pressure, cannot fully explain this difference in risk between ethnicities. This suggests that other risk factors must be involved, such as the stiffening of arteries.

Researchers Koen van der Sluijs and Jos Thannhauser from the Cardiovascular Physiology research group led by Dick Thijssen (Department of Medical BioSciences) set out to investigate how arterial stiffness is related to cardiovascular disease risk. A unique collaboration arose with researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM, Chennai, India), who developed a non-invasive ultrasound device that measures arterial stiffness in less than 15 minutes.

Adopting a ‘team science’-approach, a team of 50 students and researchers worked together to collect data to compare arterial stiffness between 121 Indian and 121 age-, sex-, and BMI-matched Dutch individuals. Compared to the Dutch group, the Indian group had a higher arterial stiffness, suggesting a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. They also found differences between the groups in which factors other than ethnicity (e.g., age, BMI, or blood pressure) are related to arterial stiffness. Their findings, published on August 24th in PLOS ONE, suggest that arterial stiffness may partially contribute to the difference in cardiovascular disease risk between ethnicities.

Meanwhile, the ‘team science’ approach and collaboration with the Indian university continues. In May 2023, the Indian researchers visited our campus to help perform additional arterial stiffness measurements in 400 participants as part of the Nijmegen Exercise Study (see picture). In future work, the research team will focus on the relation between arterial stiffness, physical activity, and cardiovascular disease risk.

Read the publication here

Van Der Sluijs, K. M., Thannhauser, J., Visser, I. M., Nabeel, P. M., Raj, K. V., Malik, A. E. F., Reesink, K. D., Eijsvogels, T. M. H., Bakker, E. A., Kaur, P., Joseph, J., & Thijssen, D. H. J. (2023). Central and local arterial stiffness in White Europeans compared to age-, sex-, and BMI-matched South Asians. PLoS ONE, 18(8), e0290118. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0290118

Related news items

Dynamic changes in the cervicovaginal microbiome during hrHPV infections

19 September 2023

A groundbreaking research reveals the dynamic nature of the cervicovaginal microbiome (CVM) during high-risk human papillomavirus infections in women by exploring the long-term ecological dynamics of microbial community state types in the CVM and their implications for cervical health...

read more