Association Between Serum Bilirubin, Lipid Levels, and Prevalence of Femoral and Carotid Atherosclerosis: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Bilirubin may prevent lipid peroxidation and have important antiatherosclerotic effects. We determined associations of serum bilirubin and lipid with peripheral atherosclerosis. METHODS: We included 4290 participants (35% men; median age, 60 years) from the southeast China who underwent B-mode ultrasound examination. Increased intima-media thickness or a focal structure encroaching into the arterial lumen by at least 0.5 mm or >50% of the surrounding intima-media thickness value was regarded as having atherosclerosis. Fasting serum bilirubin and lipid levels were measured. Cholesterol/(HDL [high-density lipoprotein] cholesterol+bilirubin), and LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol)/(HDL+bilirubin) ratios were calculated. Unconditional and multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine associations of bilirubin or lipid with prevalence of peripheral atherosclerosis. Mediation analyses were performed to assess the effect of bilirubin on atherosclerosis risk mediated via lipid. RESULTS: Compared with participants with the lowest levels of bilirubin, those with the highest tertile were less likely to have carotid or femoral atherosclerosis (odds ratios were 0.55-0.74). The highest levels of bilirubin significantly reduced the odds of concurrent carotid and femoral atherosclerosis by 35% to 45%. Participants with the highest levels of cholesterol, LDL, cholesterol/(HDL+bilirubin), and LDL/(HDL+bilirubin) ratios had 2.8- to 3.7-fold increased odds of concurrent carotid and femoral atherosclerosis. LDL accounted for 25.65% of the total bilirubin-atherosclerosis association. LDL and cholesterol mediated the associations between direct bilirubin and atherosclerosis (proportion: 20.40%, 9.67%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Increased serum bilirubin levels are inversely associated with the prevalence of carotid or femoral atherosclerosis. LDL and cholesterol may mediate these associations.

published proceedings

  • Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol

altmetric score

  • 7.4

author list (cited authors)

  • Su, Q., Chen, H., Du, S., Dai, Y., Chen, C., He , T., ... Ye, W.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Su, Qingling||Chen, Hongyu||Du, Shanshan||Dai, Yiquan||Chen, Cheng||He 何天敏, Tianmin||Feng, Ruimei||Tao, Tao||Hu, Zhijian||Zhao, Hongwei||Guo, Pingfan||Ye, Weimin

publication date

  • January 2023