Circulating levels of endothelial adhesion molecules and risk of diabetes in an ethnically diverse cohort of women

Diabetes. 2007 Jul;56(7):1898-904. doi: 10.2337/db07-0250. Epub 2007 Mar 27.


Elevated circulating levels of soluble adhesion molecules as markers of endothelial dysfunction have been related to insulin resistance and its associated metabolic abnormalities. However, their associations with type 2 diabetes remain inconclusive. We conducted a prospective nested case-control study to examine the associations between plasma levels of E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and diabetes risk among 82,069 initially healthy women aged 50-79 years from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. During a median follow-up of 5.9 years, 1,584 incident diabetes case subjects were matched with 2,198 control subjects by age, ethnicity, clinical center, time of blood draw, and follow-up time. Baseline median levels of the biomarkers were each significantly higher among case subjects than among control subjects (E-selectin, 49 vs. 37 ng/ml; ICAM-1, 324 vs. 280 ng/ml; and VCAM-1, 765 vs. 696 ng/ml [all P values <0.001]). After adjustment for risk factors, the relative risks of diabetes among women in the highest quartile versus those in the lowest quartile were 3.46 for E-selectin (95% CI 2.56-4.68; P for trend <0.0001), 2.34 for ICAM-1 (1.75-3.13; P for trend <0.0001), and 1.48 for VCAM-1 (1.07-2.04; P for trend = 0.009). E-selectin and ICAM-1 remain significant in each ethnic group. In conclusion, higher levels of E-selectin and ICAM-1 were consistently associated with increased diabetes risk in a multiethnic cohort of U.S. postmenopausal women, implicating an etiological role of endothelial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • E-Selectin / blood
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Vascular Diseases / complications*


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • E-Selectin
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1