Objective: We tested associations of the growth factors VEGF, FGF-2, HGF and PDGF-BB with coronary artery calcium scores and cardiovascular events (CVD) in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Methods: A cross-sectional study selected 40 frequency matched (by age, gender and race) subjects with T2DM from the first (0-111) and the third (> 1400) coronary artery calcium (CAC) score tertiles in the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS), in which 36 were with and 41 were without history of CVD events. Plasma levels of VEGF, FGF-2, HGF and PDGF-BB were measured in all subjects.
Results: None of the growth factors was significantly different between the first and third CAC score tertiles. Mean plasma FGF-2 and PDGF-BB levels were significantly higher in the group without prior CVD events compared with the group with prior CVD events [mean(95%CI): 219.20 (194.42-247.15) vs. 152.93 (135.64-172.43) pg/ml, p=0.03] and [mean(95%CI): 106.70 (89.12-127.74) vs. 61.56 (50.91-74.44) pg/ml, p=0.03], respectively. Subgroup analysis in the first CAC tertile showed a significantly higher PDGF-BB levels in those without compared with those with CVD events [mean (95%CI): 208.36 (190.57-228.15) vs. 102.93 (80.64-125.21) pg/ml, p=0.004].
Conclusion: Plasma growth factor levels were not significantly different between the extremes of CAC scores in T2DM. However, low plasma levels of PDGF-BB and FGF-2 are associated with prior cardiovascular events in T2DM. Studies are needed to confirm our results and also to establish temporality of this association.