Serum osteoprotegerin levels, endothelial function and carotid intima-media thickness in type 2 diabetic patients

J Diabetes Complications. 2021 Dec;35(12):108073. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2021.108073. Epub 2021 Oct 8.


Objectives: Osteoprotegerin (OPG), a well-known protein that inhibits osteoclast formation and activity, might also be a potential marker for identifying patients with high cardiovascular risk. This study aimed to compare OPG levels, FMD, and CIMT measurements in subjects with vs. without diabetes and investigate the association of serum osteoprotegerin level with the early atherosclerotic markers, endothelial function, and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2).

Methods: Forty-nine patients with DM2 (F/M: 26/23, 49.3 ± 10.0 years) and 45 healthy volunteers (F/M: 26/19, 48.3 ± 7.5 years) were included in this cross-sectional study. Serum OPG levels were measured by solid-phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and HbA1c levels were measured. CIMT was measured by B-mode ultrasound, and endothelial function was evaluated via flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery with Doppler ultrasonography.

Results: Serum OPG levels were significantly higher in patients with DM2 (617.0 ± 111.0 pg/mL) compared to controls (481.0 ± 96.0 pg/mL, p < 0.001). While CIMT in diabetic patients (0.65 + 0.13 mm) was higher than controls (0.54 ± 0.10 mm, p = 0.009), FMD measurement was lower in DM2 group (4.2% ± 3.1 mm vs. 7.6% ± 4.1 mm, p = 0.01). Univariate analysis showed that OPG was associated with the presence of diabetes (OR: 6.999, p = 0.001, R2: 15.1%) and hypertension (OR = 6.925, p = 0.001, R2: 13.2%). There was no relationship between OPG levels and CIMT or FMD.

Conclusion: Osteoprotegerin and CIMT levels were increased, and FMD measurements were decreased in patients with DM2. No association between CIMT, FMD, and OPG measurements was observed. The presence of DM and hypertension were associated with circulating OPG levels.

Keywords: Carotid intima-media thickness; Endothelial function; Flow-mediated dilation; Osteoprotegerin; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.