Aims/hypothesis: Oxidation of LDL in the arterial extracellular matrix is a key event in the development of atherosclerosis and autoantibodies against oxidised LDL antigens reflect disease severity and the risk of developing acute cardiovascular events. Since type 2 diabetes is associated with increased oxidative stress, we tested the hypothesis that autoantibodies against oxidised LDL antigens are biomarkers for vascular complications in diabetes.
Methods: We studied 497 patients with type 2 diabetes without clinical signs of coronary heart disease. Oxidised LDL autoantibodies were determined by ELISA detecting IgG and IgM specific for native and malondialdehyde (MDA)-modified apolipoprotein B-100 peptides p45 and p210. The severity of coronary disease was assessed as the coronary artery calcium score.
Results: Patients affected by retinopathy had significantly higher levels of IgG against MDA-p45 and MDA-p210. In contrast, high levels of autoantibodies against the corresponding native peptides were associated with less coronary calcification and a lower risk of progression of coronary disease.
Conclusions/interpretation: Our observations suggest that LDL oxidation is involved in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy and that autoantibodies against apolipoprotein B peptides may act as biomarkers for both micro- and macrovascular complications in diabetes.