OBJECTIVE: The reported association between calibrated integrated backscatter (cIB) and myocardial fibrosis is based on study of patients with dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and extensive (mean 15-34%) fibrosis. Its association with lesser degrees of fibrosis is unknown. We examined the relationship between cIB and myocardial fibrosis in patients with coronary artery disease.
METHODS: Myocardial histology was examined in left ventricular epicardial biopsies from 40 patients (29 men and 11 women) undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery, who had preoperative echocardiography with cIB measurement.
RESULTS: Total fibrosis (picrosirius red staining) varied from 0.7% to 4%, and in contrast to previous reports, cIB showed weak inverse associations with total fibrosis (r=-0.32, p=0.047) and interstitial fibrosis (r=-0.34, p=0.03). However, cIB was not significantly associated with other histological parameters, including immunostaining for collagens I and III, the advanced glycation end product (AGE) N(ε)-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML) and the receptor for AGEs (RAGE). When biomarkers were examined, cIB was weakly associated with log plasma levels of amino-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (r=0.34, p=0.03), creatinine (r=0.33, p=0.04) and glomerular filtration rate (r=-0.33, p=0.04), and was more strongly associated with log plasma levels of soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 (sVEGFR-1) (r=0.44, p=0.01) and soluble RAGE (r=0.53, p=0.002).
CONCLUSIONS: Higher cIB was not a marker of increased myocardial fibrosis in patients with coronary artery disease, but was associated with higher plasma levels of sVEGFR-1 and soluble RAGE. The role of cIB as a non-invasive index of fibrosis in clinical studies of patients without extensive fibrosis is, therefore, questionable.