High levels of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) antigen precede the development of type 2 diabetes in a longitudinal population study. The Northern Sweden MONICA study

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2003 Dec 22;2:19. doi: 10.1186/1475-2840-2-19.


Background: Impaired fibrinolysis is found in impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes, associated with components of the metabolic syndrome. There are no data concerning fibrinolysis in subjects with normal glucose tolerance that convert to diabetes.

Methods: We studied the activities of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and the levels of tPA antigen (a marker of endothelial dysfunction) in 551 subjects with normal glucose tolerance in 1990 in relation to incident diabetes during nine years of follow-up.

Results: Subjects with diabetes at follow-up (n = 15) had significantly lower baseline tPA activity and higher PAI-1 activity and tPA antigen than non-converters. The risk of diabetes increased linearly across quartiles of PAI-activity (p = 0.007) and tPA antigen (p < 0.001) and decreased across quartiles of tPA activity (p = 0.026). The risk of diabetes with low tPA activity or high PAI-1 activity persisted after adjustment for age and sex but diminished to a non-significant level after further adjustments. The odds ratio of diabetes for high tPA antigen was 10.4 (95% confidence interval 2.7-40) adjusted for age and sex. After further adjustment for diastolic blood pressure, waist circumference, insulin, triglycerides, fasting and post load glucose the odds ratio was 6.5 (1.3-33, p = 0.024).

Conclusions: Impaired fibrinolysis and endothelial dysfunction are evident in subjects with normal glucose tolerance who later develop diabetes. High tPA antigen is predictive of future diabetes independent from the metabolic syndrome.