Purpose: To evaluate N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) as a marker of long-term micro- and macrovascular complications in type 1 diabetes.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of 208 long-term surviving type 1 diabetic patients from a population-based cohort from Fyn County, Denmark. In a clinical examination in 2007-2008, NT-proBNP was measured and related to proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), nephropathy, neuropathy and macrovascular disease.
Results: Median age and duration of diabetes was 58.7 and 43 years, respectively. Median NT-proBNP concentration was 78 pg/ml (10th-90th percentile 25-653 pg/ml). The NT-proBNP level (89 vs. 71 pg/ml, p = 0.02) was higher in women. In univariate analyses, NT-proBNP was associated with age, duration of diabetes, diastolic blood pressure (inversely), nephropathy, neuropathy and macrovascular disease. For instance, median NT-proBNP concentrations were 70, 91 and 486 pg/ml for patients with normo-, micro- and macroalbuminuria, respectively (p < 0.01). When adjusted for age, sex, duration of diabetes, high sensitivity CRP, HbA(1c), diastolic blood pressure and smoking, higher NT-proBNP concentrations (4th vs. 1st quartile) were related to nephropathy (odds ratio [OR] 5.03; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.77-14.25), neuropathy (OR 4.08; 95% CI 1.52-10.97) and macrovascular disease (OR 5.84; 95% CI 1.65-20.74). There was no association with PDR.
Conclusions: NT-proBNP has traditionally been described as a marker of heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction. In this study of long-term surviving type 1 diabetic patients, we found NT-proBNP associated with nephropathy, neuropathy and macrovascular disease. If confirmed by prospective studies, NT-proBNP might be a useful prognostic marker of diabetes-related complications.