Plasminogen activator inhibitor and the risk of cardiovascular disease: The Framingham Heart Study

G. H. Tofler, J. Massaro, C. J. O'Donnell, P. W.F. Wilson, R. S. Vasan, P. A. Sutherland, J. B. Meigs, D. Levy, R. B. D'Agostino

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58 Scopus citations


Introduction Although plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) plays a key regulatory role in fibrinolysis, it has not been clearly shown to independently predict cardiovascular disease (CVD) among individuals without prior CVD. We investigated, in the Framingham Heart Study offspring cohort, whether PAI-1 predicted CVD risk among individuals without prior CVD. Methods Plasma PAI-1 antigen and tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) antigen were measured in 3203 subjects without prior CVD between 1991 and 1995; average follow-up of 10 years. PAI-1 was remeasured 4 years after baseline, to determine the effect of serial change on risk. Results PAI-1 levels (mean ± SD) were 29.1 ng/ml (19.2) versus 22.1 (16.5) for those and without incident CVD; p < 0.001, and TPA levels were 12.0 ng/ml (5.7) versus 9.0 (4.7); p < 0.001. PAI-1 and TPA antigen levels had a strong unadjusted linear relation with incident CVD (p < 0.001). After adjustment for conventional risk factors, the hazard ratios (HRs) for higher quartiles of PAI-1, compared with the lowest, were 1.9, 1.9, 2.6 (linear trend p = 0.006), and 1.6, 1.6, 2.9 (p < 0.001) for TPA antigen. The adjusted HRs for increasing quartiles of serial change in PAI-1 at 4 years, compared with the lowest, were 0.9, 0.8, 1.3 (p = 0.050). C statistic assessment showed that adding PAI-1 or TPA to conventional risk factors resulted in small increases in discrimination and modest reclassification of risk, which was statistically significant for TPA (net reclassification 6.8%, p = 0.037) but not PAI-1 (4.8%, p = 0.113). Conclusion PAI-1 and TPA antigen levels are predictive of CVD events after accounting for established risk factors. A serial increase in PAI-1 is associated with a further increase in risk. These findings support the importance of fibrinolytic potential in CVD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalThrombosis Research
StatePublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1
  • Tissue plasminogen activator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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