Associations of alcohol intake with subclinical carotid atherosclerosis in 22,000 Chinese adults.
Zhou T., Im PK., Hariri P., Du H., Guo Y., Lin K., Yang L., Yu C., Chen Y., Sohoni R., Avery D., Guan M., Yang M., Lv J., Clarke R., Li L., Walters RG., Chen Z., Millwood IY., China Kadoorie Biobank Group None.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: We investigated the causal relevance of alcohol intake with measures of carotid artery thickness and atherosclerosis in Chinese adults. METHODS: The study included 22,384 adults from the China Kadoorie Biobank, with self-reported alcohol use at baseline and resurvey, carotid artery ultrasound measurements, and genotyping data for ALDH2-rs671 and ADH1B-rs1229984. Associations of carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), any carotid plaque, and total plaque burden (derived from plaque number and size) with self-reported (conventional analyses) and genotype-predicted mean alcohol intake (Mendelian randomization) were assessed using linear and logistic regression models. RESULTS: Overall 34.2% men and 2.1% women drank alcohol regularly at baseline. Mean cIMT was 0.70 mm in men and 0.64 mm in women, with 39.1% and 26.5% having carotid plaque, respectively. Among men, cIMT was not associated with self-reported or genotype-predicted mean alcohol intake. The risk of plaque increased significantly with self-reported intake among current drinkers (odds ratio 1.42 [95% CI 1.14-1.76] per 280 g/week), with directionally consistent findings with genotype-predicted mean intake (1.21 [0.99-1.49]). Higher alcohol intake was significantly associated with higher carotid plaque burden in both conventional (0.19 [0.10-0.28] mm higher per 280 g/week) and genetic analyses (0.09 [0.02-0.17]). Genetic findings in women suggested the association of genotype-predicted alcohol with carotid plaque burden in men was likely to due to alcohol itself, rather than pleiotropic genotypic effects. CONCLUSIONS: Higher alcohol intake was associated with a higher carotid plaque burden, but not with cIMT, providing support for a potential causal association of alcohol intake with carotid atherosclerosis.