Relationship between plasma sialic acid and fibrinogen concentration and incident micro- and macrovascular complications in type 1 diabetes. The EURODIAB Prospective Complications Study (PCS)

Diabetologia. 2008 Mar;51(3):493-501. doi: 10.1007/s00125-007-0905-8. Epub 2008 Jan 9.


Aims/hypothesis: Type 1 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of vascular complications. This increased risk could be explained by sialic acid and/or fibrinogen. It is also not clear what explains the abolition of sex-related differences affecting risk of CHD in the presence of type 1 diabetes. Therefore, we examined whether fibrinogen and sialic acid are related to incident micro- and macrovascular complications in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Methods: A subset (n=2329) of the EURODIAB Prospective Complications Study was analysed. Sialic acid and fibrinogen concentrations were measured at baseline. The main outcomes after 7 years were development of albuminuria, retinopathy, neuropathy and CHD.

Results: Univariable and multivariable models using Cox proportional survival analyses showed that an SD unit increase in sialic acid and fibrinogen levels was significantly associated with CHD in men only. Adjusted standardised hazard ratios (sHRs) were 1.50 (95% CI 1.05-2.15) and 1.40 (95% CI 1.06-1.86) for sialic acid and fibrinogen, respectively. Initial associations between (1) sialic acid and incident retinopathy [standardised odds ratio (sOR) men 1.68, 95% CI 1.10-2.57], (2) fibrinogen and retinopathy (sOR women 1.37, 95% CI 1.06-1.78) and (3) sialic acid and neuropathy (sOR men 1.37, 95% CI 1.06-1.77) were shown, but became non-significant in multivariable models.

Conclusions/interpretation: Sialic acid and fibrinogen are strong predictors of CHD in men with type 1 diabetes, beyond the effect of established risk factors. The associations found with microvascular complications were not independent of other risk factors.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Albuminuria / epidemiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / blood*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / blood*


  • Fibrinogen
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid