Stiffening of large arteries, clinically manifesting as increased aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), is an inevitable outcome of aging. Among other mechanisms, impaired glucose metabolism plays an important role, leading to the deposition of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). This process is counterbalanced by the circulating soluble receptor for AGEs (sRAGE). We investigated the association between arterial stiffness on one side and multiple circulating biomarkers and the degree of skin deposition of AGEs on the other. In a cross-sectional design, 867 participants based on a general population sample (Czech post-MONICA studies) were examined. PWV was measured by SphygmoCor device (AtCor Medical Ltd.), while skin AGEs were measured using a dedicated autofluorescence method (AGE Reader mu®). To quantify the circulating status of AGEs, carboxymethyl lysine (CML) and sRAGE concentrations were assessed by ELISA, along with conventional glucose metabolism indicators. When analyzing the whole sample using multiple linear or logistic regression models and after adjustment for potential covariates, a significant association with PWV was found for fasting glycemia, HbA1c, sRAGE, skin AGEs, and the skin AGE-to-sRAGE ratio. Among these parameters, stepwise models identified the strongest association for the skin AGEs and AGE-to-sRAGE ratio, and this was also true when diabetic subjects were excluded. In contrast, neither CML nor its ratio relative to sRAGE showed any association with arterial stiffness. In conclusion, skin AGEs along with their ratio relative to sRAGE were closely associated with arterial stiffness and is a better indicator of the current status of deposited AGEs than other relevant factors.
Keywords: AGEs; Carboxymethyl lysine; Glucose metabolism; Pulse wave velocity; SRAGE.