Veli-Pekka Valkonen

University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Eastern Finland Province, Finland

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Publications (18)86.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The performance of a new ELISA assay kit (DLD Diagnostika GmbH, Hamburg, Germany) for the determination of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) was evaluated against a reversed phase HPLC method. ADMA concentrations of 55 serum samples were measured with both methods. The intra-assay CV for ADMA-ELISA was 19% (n=10). Inter-assay CVs for ADMA-ELISA were 9% for kit control 1 (0.410+/-0.037 microM) and 14% for kit control 2 (1.174+/-0.165 microM). The intra- and inter-assay CVs for HPLC assay for ADMA were 2.5% (0.586+/-0.015 microM) and 4.2% (0.664+/-0.028 microM), respectively. There was no correlation between these two methods (R(2)=0.0972). The effect of storage conditions of the samples on ADMA concentrations was investigated by HPLC. ADMA concentration was stable after four freezing and thawing cycles. Overall, the HPLC method offered better sensitivity, selectivity and, very importantly, simultaneous determination of ADMA, SDMA, l-homoarginine and l-arginine.
    Journal of Chromatography B 01/2006; 828(1-2):97-102. · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    Veli-Pekka Valkonen, Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen, Reijo Laaksonen
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    ABSTRACT: The crucial role of nitric oxide (NO) for normal endothelial function is well known. In many conditions associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, abdominal obesity, diabetes and smoking, NO biosynthesis is dysregulated, leading to endothelial dysfunction. The growing evidence from animal and human studies indicates that endogenous inhibitors of endothelial NO synthase such as asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) and NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) are associated with the endothelial dysfunction and potentially regulate NO synthase. The major route of elimination of ADMA is metabolism by the enzymes dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1 and -2 (DDAH). In our recent study 16 men with either low or high plasma ADMA concentrations were screened to identify DDAH polymorphisms that could potentially be associated with increased susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases. In that study a novel functional mutation of DDAH-1 was identified; the mutation carriers had a significantly elevated risk for cardiovascular disease and a tendency to develop hypertension. These results confirmed the clinical role of DDAH enzymes in ADMA metabolism. Furthermore, it is possible that more common variants of DDAH genes contribute more widely to increased cardiovascular risk.
    Vascular Medicine 08/2005; 10 Suppl 1:S45-8. · 1.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In men, hypoandrogenism is associated with features of the metabolic syndrome. It is not known whether men with the metabolic syndrome are at a higher risk of developing hypogonadism. We therefore assessed whether the metabolic syndrome predicts development of hypogonadism 11 yr later in 651 middle-aged Finnish men participating in a population-based cohort study. Men with the metabolic syndrome at baseline as defined by the World Health Organization (n = 114, 20%) had a 2.6-fold increased risk of developing hypogonadism as defined by total testosterone levels less than 11 nmol/liter at the 11-yr follow-up independent of age, smoking, and other potential confounders. Further adjustment for body mass index (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1-3.8) or baseline total testosterone levels (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.0-3.4) attenuated the association. The association of the metabolic syndrome with hypogonadism as defined by calculated free testosterone levels less than 225 pmol/liter was similar, but weaker. The adjusted decrease in testosterone concentrations during the 11-yr follow-up was also greater in men with than without the metabolic syndrome. Smokers had a nonsignificantly lower risk of developing hypogonadism during follow-up, whereas a decrease in smoking increased the risk of hypogonadism. The metabolic syndrome predisposes to development of hypogonadism in middle-aged men. Prevention of abdominal obesity and the accompanying metabolic syndrome in middle age may decrease the risk of hypogonadism in men, especially in those who quit smoking.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 02/2005; 90(2):712-9. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Development of hypertension has been linked to chronic low-grade inflammation. However, it is not known whether this connection is mediated by features of the metabolic syndrome or smoking, or their changes, which themselves have been linked to inflammation. We studied the predictive value of highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), smoking, and abdominal obesity to the development of hypertension in an 11-year follow-up of a population-based study cohort comprising 379 middle-aged normotensive men. During the follow-up, 124 men (33%) developed hypertension. Men with hs-CRP > or =3.0 mg/L were 2.8x (95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 6.6) more likely to develop hypertension than with hs-CRP <1.0 mg/L even after adjustment for features of the metabolic syndrome, lifestyle factors, and their changes. Cigarette smoking was also associated with development of hypertension independently of inflammation and other confounders. Waist girth increased more in men who quit smoking than in other men. An increase in waist girth during follow-up strongly predicted incident hypertension. The decrease in smoking was not associated with a lower risk of hypertension in age-adjusted analyses. Hypertension is preceded by low-grade chronic inflammation in middle-aged white men independently of smoking or features of the metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, smoking may be a risk factor for hypertension. Although stopping smoking is beneficial with respect to health outcomes, the subsequent increase in weight and waist girth associated with smoking cessation may offset the decrease in the risk of hypertension that one may otherwise expect.
    Hypertension 01/2005; 44(6):859-65. · 6.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mercury has been suggested to have negative effects on cardiovascular health. We investigated the effects of high mercury content in hair on the risk of acute coronary events and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in men from eastern Finland. The population-based prospective Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) cohort of 1871 Finnish men aged 42 to 60 years and free of previous coronary heart disease (CHD) or stroke at baseline was used. During an average follow-up time of 13.9 years, 282 acute coronary events and 132 cardiovascular disease (CVD), 91 CHD, and 525 all-cause deaths occurred. Men in the highest third of hair mercury content (>2.03 microg/g) had an adjusted 1.60-fold (95% CI, 1.24 to 2.06) risk of acute coronary event, 1.68-fold (95% CI, 1.15 to 2.44) risk of CVD, 1.56-fold (95% CI, 0.99 to 2.46) risk of CHD, and 1.38-fold (95% CI, 1.15 to 1.66) risk of any death compared with men in the lower two thirds. High mercury content in hair also attenuated the protective effects of high-serum docosahexaenoic acid plus docosapentaenoic acid concentration. High content of mercury in hair may be a risk factor for acute coronary events and CVD, CHD, and all-cause mortality in middle-aged eastern Finnish men. Mercury may also attenuate the protective effects of fish on cardiovascular health.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 01/2005; 25(1):228-33. · 6.34 Impact Factor
  • Veli-Pekka Valkonen, Reijo Laaksonen
    Clinica Chimica Acta 11/2004; 348(1-2):9-17. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several, but not all, prospective studies have shown that low folate intakes, low circulating folate concentrations, or high plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). We examined the relations of both serum folate and serum tHcy concentrations with acute coronary events in middle-aged men from eastern Finland who had no CAD at baseline. In a population-based prospective cohort study, 1027 men aged 46-64 y were examined in 1991-1993 as part of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. During an average follow-up of 7.7 y (7900 person-years of follow-up), 114 acute coronary events were observed in 61 men who had no previous history of CAD (n = 810). In a Cox model, compared with men whose serum folate concentrations were in the lowest tertile, those whose concentrations were in the highest tertile had a risk factor-adjusted relative risk of acute coronary events of 0.35 (95% CI: 0.17, 0.73; P = 0.005). Serum tHcy concentrations were not significantly associated with the risk of acute coronary events (for the highest tertile compared with the lowest, adjusted relative risk = 1.03; 95% CI: 0.57, 1.87; P = 0.932). The results of this prospective cohort study do not support the hypothesis that a high circulating tHcy concentration is a risk factor for acute coronary events in a male population free of prior heart disease. However, they do suggest that moderate-to-high serum folate concentrations are associated with a greatly reduced incidence of acute coronary events.
    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 09/2004; 80(2):317-23. · 6.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In men, hypoandrogenism is associated with features of the metabolic syndrome, but the role of sex hormones in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome and diabetes is not well understood. We assessed the association of low levels of testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) with the development of the metabolic syndrome and diabetes in men. Concentrations of SHBG and total and calculated free testosterone and factors related to insulin resistance were determined at baseline in 702 middle-aged Finnish men participating in a population-based cohort study. These men had neither diabetes nor the metabolic syndrome. After 11 years of follow-up, 147 men had developed the metabolic syndrome (National Cholesterol Education Program criteria) and 57 men diabetes. Men with total testosterone, calculated free testosterone, and SHBG levels in the lower fourth had a severalfold increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome (odds ratio [OR] 2.3, 95% CI 1.5-3.4; 1.7, 1.2-2.5; and 2.8, 1.9-4.1, respectively) and diabetes (2.3, 1.3-4.1; 1.7, 0.9-3.0; and 4.3, 2.4-7.7, respectively) after adjustment for age. Adjustment for potential confounders such as cardiovascular disease, smoking, alcohol intake, and socioeconomic status did not alter the associations. Factors related to insulin resistance attenuated the associations, but they remained significant, except for free testosterone. Low total testosterone and SHBG levels independently predict development of the metabolic syndrome and diabetes in middle-aged men. Thus, hypoandrogenism is an early marker for disturbances in insulin and glucose metabolism that may progress to the metabolic syndrome or frank diabetes and may contribute to their pathogenesis.
    Diabetes Care 06/2004; 27(5):1036-41. · 7.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the hypothesis that high serum levels of ADMA, an indicator of endothelial dysfunction, are associated with an elevated risk of acute coronary events in middle-aged men. To test the hypothesis that lipid lowering medication with statins lowers circulating ADMA levels, we also investigated the effect of simvastatin and atorvastatin treatment on plasma ADMA concentration. In a prospective nested case-control study in 150 middle-aged non-smoking men from Eastern Finland, those who were in the highest quartile for serum ADMA (>0.62 micromol/l) had a 3.9-fold (95% CI: 1.25-12.3, P=0.02) increase in risk of acute coronary events compared with other quartiles. In an 8-week randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial, plasma ADMA concentrations remained unchanged in simvastatin 80 mg/day (n=16), atorvastatin 40 mg/day (n=16) and placebo (n=16) groups over the study period. Our findings indicate that high serum levels of ADMA, a potential marker for endothelial dysfunction, may increase the risk of acute coronary syndromes. However, aggressive treatment with either simvastatin or atorvastatin did not reduce plasma ADMA levels.
    Atherosclerosis Supplements 01/2004; 4(4):19-22. · 4.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Self-selected supplementation of vitamin E has been associated with reduced coronary events and atherosclerotic progression, but the evidence from clinical trials is controversial. In the first 3 years of the ASAP trial, the supplementation with 136 IU of vitamin E plus 250 mg of slow-release vitamin C twice daily slowed down the progression of carotid atherosclerosis in men but not women. This article examines the 6-year effect of supplementation on common carotid artery (CCA) intima-media thickness (IMT). The subjects were 520 smoking and nonsmoking men and postmenopausal women aged 45 to 69 years with serum cholesterol > or =5.0 mmol/L (193 mg/dL), 440 (84.6%) of whom completed the study. Atherosclerotic progression was assessed ultrasonographically. In covariance analysis in both sexes, supplementation reduced the main study outcome, the slope of mean CCA-IMT, by 26% (95% CI, 5 to 46, P=0.014), in men by 33% (95% CI, 4 to 62, P=0.024) and in women by 14% (not significant). In both sexes combined, the average annual increase of the mean CCA-IMT was 0.014 mm in the unsupplemented and 0.010 mm in the supplemented group (25% treatment effect, 95% CI, 2 to 49, P=0.034). In men, this treatment effect was 37% (95 CI, 4 to 69, P=0.028). The effect was larger in subjects with either low baseline plasma vitamin C levels or CCA plaques. Vitamin E had no effect on HDL cholesterol. These data replicate our 3-year findings confirming that the supplementation with combination of vitamin E and slow-release vitamin C slows down atherosclerotic progression in hypercholesterolemic persons.
    Circulation 02/2003; 107(7):947-53. · 15.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the hypothesis that high serum levels of ADMA, an indicator of endothelial dysfunction, are associated with an elevated risk of acute coronary events in middle-aged men. To test the hypothesis that lipid lowering medication with statins lowers circulating ADMA levels, we also investigated the effect of simvastatin and atorvastatin treatment on plasma ADMA concentration.In a prospective nested case–control study in 150 middle-aged non-smoking men from Eastern Finland, those who were in the highest quartile for serum ADMA (>0.62μmol/l) had a 3.9-fold (95% CI: 1.25–12.3, P=0.02) increase in risk of acute coronary events compared with other quartiles. In an 8-week randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial, plasma ADMA concentrations remained unchanged in simvastatin 80mg/day (n=16), atorvastatin 40mg/day (n=16) and placebo (n=16) groups over the study period.Our findings indicate that high serum levels of ADMA, a potential marker for endothelial dysfunction, may increase the risk of acute coronary syndromes. However, aggressive treatment with either simvastatin or atorvastatin did not reduce plasma ADMA levels.
    Atherosclerosis Supplements - ATHEROSCLER SUPPL. 01/2003; 4(4):19-22.
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    ABSTRACT: Most common chronic diseases have a multifaceted aetiological background. Because currently used statistical methods have severe limitations in describing complex non-linear processes, the authors evaluated the usefulness of a multivariate method which is able to describe non-linear phenomena, the self-organizing map (SOM). The study subjects were the 1650 participants of the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD). The SOM model was constructed using 25 continuous biochemical and physiological variables. The aim of the SOM algorithm, together with Sammon's mapping, is to group the data into reduced but representative format and divide the study population into homogeneous subgroups. The study population consisted of four groups (clusters) according to the method used. In the clusters C1 to C4 were 637, 445, 275 and 121 men, respectively. There were eight neurons (n = 172) which were not included to the four main clusters. The mean values of the variables related to insulin resistance syndrome in the identified SOM map were 32.1 (kg/m(2)) for body mass index (BMI), 1.01 for waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), 158.7 mmHg and 103.8 mmHg for systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), 2.8 mmol/l for triglycerides, 6.2 mmol/l for blood glucose and 22.4 mU/l for serum insulin. There was a statistically significant difference in the mean values of BMI, WHR, SBP, DBP, HDL, triglycerides and blood glucose between the cluster representing the insulin resistance syndrome and the normal cluster. This study shows that the multidimensional structures of insulin resistance syndrome can be visualized and identified at qualitative and quantitative level using the SOM algorithm.
    International Journal of Epidemiology 09/2002; 31(4):864-71. · 6.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests that dietary supplementation of L-arginine, the precursor of nitric oxide, may protect arteries against atherosclerosis. We tested the hypothesis that dietary arginine intake is associated with a decreased risk of acute coronary events in Finnish men aged 42-60 y. We investigated this association in a prospective cohort study of men who were free of prior coronary artery disease and who were examined in 1984-1989 in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD). The dietary arginine intake of 1981 men was assessed by a 4-d food intake record during the baseline phase of the KIHD. Men in the highest quintile of dietary arginine intake (>or= 5691 mg/d) did not have a significantly lower risk of acute coronary events than did men in the 4 lower quintiles (relative risk after adjustment for potential coronary risk factors: 1.28; 95% CI: 0.85, 1.94). The covariates were age; examination years; body mass index; systolic blood pressure; serum total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol; serum triacylglycerols; urinary excretion of nicotine metabolites; maximal oxygen uptake in an exercise test; and alcohol intake. Splitting arginine intake into deciles or analyzing plant- and animal-derived arginine separately did not show any association between dietary arginine intake and the risk of acute coronary events. Arginine intake was also not consistently associated with blood pressure. Dietary arginine intake is not associated with the risk of acute coronary events in middle-aged men in eastern Finland.
    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 08/2002; 76(2):359-64. · 6.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A rather common leucine7-to-proline7 (Leu7Pro) polymorphism in the preproneuropeptide Y (prepro-NPY) gene signal peptide may be important in blood pressure regulation, cholesterol metabolism and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in humans. We examined the associations of the Leu7Pro polymorphism with carotid atherosclerotic progression, blood pressure and serum lipids in a population-based sample of 966 men aged 42–60 years in Finland. The Pro7 substitution (carrier frequency 12.2%) was associated with accelerated four-year increase in the mean (P=0.01) and maximal (P=0.007) common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and with slightly increased systolic (P=0.03) and diastolic (P=0.02) blood pressures, adjusted for other major risk factors. Men with Pro7 substitution had 30.6% (95% CI 6.9–54.0%) greater increase in the mean IMT and 20.0% (95% CI 5.3–34.4%) greater increase in the maximal IMT than men with Leu7/Leu7 genotype. The Pro7 substitution was also related to increased serum total cholesterol (P=0.01) and LDL cholesterol (P=0.02) in obese (body mass index (BMI)>30 kg/m2) men. This study provides important evidence suggesting that the Pro7 substitution in the prepro-NPY is an important risk factor for accelerated atherosclerotic progression, increased blood pressure and increased serum cholesterol in humans.
    Atherosclerosis 11/2001; · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Several cross-sectional studies have fo- cused on the low blood folate levels of depressive patients. Nevertheless, no prospective studies have been published on the association between dietary folate and depression. Methods: We studied the association be- tween dietary folate and cobalamin and receiving a dis- charge diagnosis of depression in a prospective follow- up setting. Our cohort was recruited between 1984 and 1989 and followed until the end of 2000, and it consisted of 2,313 men aged between 42and 60 years from eastern Finland. Results: The mean intake of folate in the whole cohort was 256 Ìg/day (SD = 76). Those below the median of energy-adjusted folate intake had higher risk of getting discharge diagnosis of depression (RR 3.04, 95% CI: 1.58, 5.86) during the follow-up period than those who had a folate intake above the median. This excess risk remained significant after adjustment for cur- rent socioeconomic status, the baseline HPL depression score, the energy-adjusted daily intake of fibre and vita- min C, and the total fat intake. Conclusions: A low dietary intake of folate may be a risk factor for severe depres- sion. This also indicates that nutrition may have a role in the prevention of depression.
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    ABSTRACT: Several cross-sectional studies have focused on the low blood folate levels of depressive patients. Nevertheless, no prospective studies have been published on the association between dietary folate and depression. We studied the association between dietary folate and cobalamin and receiving a discharge diagnosis of depression in a prospective follow-up setting. Our cohort was recruited between 1984 and 1989 and followed until the end of 2000, and it consisted of 2,313 men aged between 42 and 60 years from eastern Finland. The mean intake of folate in the whole cohort was 256 microg/day (SD=76). Those below the median of energy-adjusted folate intake had higher risk of getting discharge diagnosis of depression (RR 3.04, 95% CI: 1.58, 5.86) during the follow-up period than those who had a folate intake above the median. This excess risk remained significant after adjustment for current socioeconomic status, the baseline HPL depression score, the energy-adjusted daily intake of fibre and vitamin C, and the total fat intake. A low dietary intake of folate may be a risk factor for severe depression. This also indicates that nutrition may have a role in the prevention of depression.
    Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 73(6):334-9. · 9.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Evidence suggests that dietary supplementation of L-arginine, the precursor of nitric oxide, may protect arteries against atherosclerosis. Objective: We tested the hypothesis that dietary arginine intake is associated with a decreased risk of acute coronary events in Finnish men aged 42-60 y. Design: We investigated this association in a prospective cohort study of men who were free of prior coronary artery disease and who were examined in 1984-1989 in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD). The dietary arginine intake of 1981 men was assessed by a 4-d food intake record during the baseline phase of the KIHD. Results: Men in the highest quintile of dietary arginine intake (≥ 5691 mg/d) did not have a significantly lower risk of acute coronary events than did men in the 4 lower quintiles (relative risk after adjustment for potential coronary risk factors: 1.28; 95% CI: 0.85, 1.94). The covariates were age; examination years; body mass index; systolic blood pressure; serum total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol; serum triacylglycerols; urinary excretion of nicotine metabolites; maximal oxygen uptake in an exercise test; and alco- hol intake. Splitting arginine intake into deciles or analyzing plant- and animal-derived arginine separately did not show any associa- tion between dietary arginine intake and the risk of acute coronary events. Arginine intake was also not consistently associated with blood pressure. Conclusion: Dietary arginine intake is not associated with the risk of acute coronary events in middle-aged men in eastern Finland. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:359-64.