Circulating monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and risk of stroke: Meta-Analysis of Population-Based Studies Involving 17 180 Individuals

Marios K. Georgakis, Rainer Malik, Harry Björkbacka, Tiberiu A Pana, Serkalem Demissie, Colby Ayers, Mohamed A. Elhadad, Myriam Fornage, Alexa Beiser, Emelia J. Benjamin, S Matthijs Boekholdt, Gunnar Engström, Christian Herder, Ron C. Hoogeveen, Wolfgang Koenig, Olle Melander, Marju Orho-Melander, Alexandru Schiopu, Martin Söderholm, Nick WarehamChristie M. Ballantyne, Annette Peters, Sudha Seshadri, Phyo Kyaw Myint, Jan Nilsson, James A. de Lemos, Martin Dichgans* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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Rationale: Proinflammatory cytokines have been identified as potential targets for lowering vascular risk. Experimental evidence and Mendelian randomization suggest a role of MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) in atherosclerosis and stroke. However, data from large-scale observational studies are lacking. Objective: To determine whether circulating levels of MCP-1 are associated with risk of incident stroke in the general population. Methods and Results: We used previously unpublished data on 17 180 stroke-free individuals (mean age, 56.7±8.1 years; 48.8% men) from 6 population-based prospective cohort studies and explored associations between baseline circulating MCP-1 levels and risk of any stroke, ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke during a mean follow-up interval of 16.3 years (280 522 person-years at risk; 1435 incident stroke events). We applied Cox proportional-hazards models and pooled hazard ratios (HRs) using random-effects meta-analyses. After adjustments for age, sex, race, and vascular risk factors, higher MCP-1 levels were associated with increased risk of any stroke (HR per 1-SD increment in ln-transformed MCP-1, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.01-1.14). Focusing on stroke subtypes, we found a significant association between baseline MCP-1 levels and higher risk of ischemic stroke (HR, 1.11 [1.02-1.21]) but not hemorrhagic stroke (HR, 1.02 [0.82-1.29]). The results followed a dose-response pattern with a higher risk of ischemic stroke among individuals in the upper quartiles of MCP-1 levels as compared with the first quartile (HRs, second quartile: 1.19 [1.00-1.42]; third quartile: 1.35 [1.14-1.59]; fourth quartile: 1.38 [1.07-1.77]). There was no indication for heterogeneity across studies, and in a subsample of 4 studies (12 516 individuals), the risk estimates were stable after additional adjustments for circulating levels of IL (interleukin)-6 and high-sensitivity CRP (C-reactive protein). Conclusions: Higher circulating levels of MCP-1 are associated with increased long-term risk of stroke. Our findings along with genetic and experimental evidence suggest that MCP-1 signaling might represent a therapeutic target to lower stroke risk.Visual Overview: An online visual overview is available for this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-782
Number of pages10
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number8
Early online date3 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

M. Georgakis is funded by scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Onassis Foundation. The ARIC study has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract nos. (HHSN268201700001I, HHSN268201700002I, HHSN268201700003I, HHSN268201700005I, HHSN268201700004I). The DHS study was funded by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The EPIC-Norfolk study is funded by grants from the Medical Research Council UK (G9502233, G0401527) and Cancer Research UK (C864/A8257, C864/A2883). FHS is supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study (Contract No. N01-HC-25195 and No. HHSN268201500001I and 75N92019D00031), received funding by grants from the National Institute of Aging (R01s AG054076, AG049607, AG059421, U01-AG049505, AG058589 and AG052409) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01 NS017950, UH2 NS100605), as well as grants for the MCP-1 measurements by NIH (1RO1 HL64753, R01 HL076784, 1 R01 AG028321). The KORA study was initiated and financed by the Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and by the State of Bavaria. Furthermore, KORA research was supported within the Munich Center of Health Sciences (MC-Health), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, as part of LMUinnovativ. The MDCS-CV study has been supported with funding from the Swedish Research Council, Swedish Heart and Lung Foundations, and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (No 666881), SVDs@target (to M. Dichgans) and No 667375, CoSTREAM (to M. Dichgans); the DFG as part of the Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (EXC 2145 SyNergy – ID 390857198) and the CRC 1123 (B3) (to M. Dichgans); the Corona Foundation (to M. Dichgans); the Fondation Leducq (Transatlantic Network of Excellence on the Pathogenesis of Small Vessel Disease of the Brain)(to M. Dichgans); the e:Med program (e:AtheroSysMed) (to M. Dichgans) and the FP7/2007-2103 European Union project CVgenes@target (grant agreement number Health-F2-2013-601456) (to M. Dichgans).
The funders had no role in study design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


  • monocyte chemoattractant protein-1
  • CCL2
  • stroke
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • atherosclerosis


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