Aims: Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), ST2, high-sensitivity troponin T (hsTnT), and N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) are biomarkers of distinct mechanisms that may contribute to the pathophysiology of heart failure (HF) [inflammation (GDF15); ventricular remodelling (ST2); myonecrosis (hsTnT); and wall stress (NT-proBNP)].
Methods and results: We compared circulating levels of GDF15, ST2, hsTnT, and NT-proBNP, as well as their combinations, in compensated patients with clinical HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFREF) (n = 51), HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) (n= 50), and community-based controls (n = 50). Compared with controls, patients with HFPEF and HFREF had higher median levels of GDF15 (540 pg/mL vs. 2529 and 2672 pg/mL, respectively), hsTnT (3.7 pg/mL vs. 23.7 and 35.6 pg/mL), and NT-proBNP (69 pg/mL vs. 942 and 2562 pg/mL), but not ST2 (27.6 ng/mL vs. 31.5 and 35.3 ng/mL), adjusting for clinical covariates. In receiver operating characteristic curve analyses, NT-proBNP distinguished HFREF from controls with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.987 (P < 0.001); GDF15 distinguished HFPEF from controls with an AUC of 0.936 (P < 0.001); and the combination of NT-proBNP and GDF15 distinguished HFPEF from controls with an AUC of 0.956 (P < 0.001). NT-proBNP and hsTnT levels were higher in HFREF than in HFPEF (adjusted P < 0.04). The NT-proBNP:GDF15 ratio distinguished between HFPEF and HFREF with the largest AUC (0.709; P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Our study provides comparative data on physiologically distinct circulating biomarkers in HFPEF, HFREF, and controls from the same community. These data suggest a prominent role for myocardial injury (hsTnT) with increased wall stress (NT-proBNP) in HFREF, and systemic inflammation (GDF15) in HFPEF.