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Volume 18, Issue 4 (July 2016) 18, 644–649; 10.4103/1008-682X.172825

Serum sex hormone and growth arrest-specific protein 6 levels in male patients with coronary heart disease

Rui Zhao, Yan Li, Wen Dai

Department of Clinical Laboratory, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, Hubei Province, China

Correspondence: Dr. Y Li (yanlitf1120@163.com)

Received: 22 June 2015; Revised: 14 August 2015; Accepted: 16 November 2015


Epidemiological studies have shown a high prevalence of low serum testosterone levels in men with cardiovascular disease. Moreover, the tyrosine kinase receptor Axl, the ligand of which is growth arrest-specific protein 6 (GAS6), is expressed in the vasculature, and serum GAS6 levels are associated with endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular events. Testosterone regulates GAS6 gene transcription directly, which inhibits calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells and provides a mechanistic insight into the cardioprotective action of androgens. This study was designed to determine the correlation between serum GAS6 and testosterone levels in male patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). We recruited 225 patients with CHD and 102 apparently healthy controls. Serum concentrations of GAS6 and soluble Axl were quantified by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, testosterone, estradiol, and other routine biochemical markers were also measured. Testosterone decreased from 432.69 ± 14.40 to 300.76 ± 6.23 ng dl−1 (P < 0.001) and GAS6 decreased from 16.20 ± 0.31 to 12.51 ± 0.19 ng ml−1 (P < 0.001) in patients with CHD, compared with control subjects. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that serum testosterone and GAS6 levels were positively associated in male patients with CHD. Alterations in GAS6 levels may influence the development of CHD. Downregulation of GAS6/Axl signaling in the presence of low sex hormone levels during disease progression is a potential mechanism by which GAS6 affects CHD. This study provides novel results regarding the influence of sex hormones on serum GAS6 levels in patients with CHD.

Keywords: coronary heart disease; growth arrest-specific protein 6; soluble Axl; testosterone

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