Background: Several epidemiologic studies have reported an inverse association between serum levels of carotenoids and cardiovascular disease risk. However, no studies have reported an association between serum carotenoids and N-terminal pro-brain-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in the general population. Methods: In this cross-sectional study,we investigated whether serum carotenoids were associated with serum NTproBNP in 1056 Japanese subjects (390 men, 666 women) who attended a health examination. Serum levels of carotenoids were separately determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Serum NT-proBNP level was measured by electrochemiluminescence immunoassay. Results: Serum NT-proBNP was elevated (≥55 pg/ml) in 31.8% of men and 48.2% of women. Multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted for confounding factors showed a significant association between the highest quartile of serum a-carotene and elevated NT-proBNP in men (odds ratio [OR]= 0.40, 95% CI = 0.19-0.82, P for trend = 0.005) and women (OR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.39-0.99, P for trend = 0.047). In women, moreover, elevated serum NTproBNP was significantly associated with serum canthaxanthin (OR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.36-0.90 for highest quartile, P for trend = 0.026) and ß-cryptoxanthin (OR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.32-0.85 for highest quartile, P for trend = 0.026), after adjusting for potential confounders. Conclusions: Higher levels of serum carotenoids were associated with lower risk of elevated serum NT-proBNP levels after adjusting for possible confounders, which suggests that a diet rich in carotenoids could help prevent cardiac overload in the Japanese population.
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