Background: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is the leading cause of death in diabetes, but the full range of biomarkers reflecting atherosclerotic burden and CVD risk in people with diabetes is unknown. Metabolomics may help identify novel biomarkers potentially involved in development of atherosclerosis. We investigated the serum metabolomic profile of subclinical atherosclerosis, measured using ankle brachial index (ABI), in people with type 2 diabetes, compared with the profile for symptomatic CVD in the same population.
Methods: The Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study is a cohort of 1,066 individuals with type 2 diabetes. ABI was measured at baseline, years 4 and 10, with cardiovascular events assessed at baseline and during 10 years of follow-up. A panel of 228 metabolites was measured at baseline using nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry, and their association with both ABI and prevalent CVD was explored using univariate regression models and least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO). Metabolites associated with baseline ABI were further explored for association with follow-up ABI and incident CVD.
Results: Mean (standard deviation, SD) ABI at baseline was 0.97 (0.18, N = 1025), and prevalence of CVD was 35.0%. During 10-year follow-up, mean (SD) change in ABI was + 0.006 (0.178, n = 436), and 257 CVD events occurred. Lactate, glycerol, creatinine and glycoprotein acetyls levels were associated with baseline ABI in both univariate regression [βs (95% confidence interval, CI) ranged from - 0.025 (- 0.036, - 0.015) to - 0.023 (- 0.034, - 0.013), all p < 0.0002] and LASSO analysis. The associations remained nominally significant after adjustment for major vascular risk factors. In prospective analyses, lactate was nominally associated with ABI measured at years 4 and 10 after adjustment for baseline ABI. The four ABI-associated metabolites were all positively associated with prevalent CVD [odds ratios (ORs) ranged from 1.29 (1.13, 1.47) to 1.49 (1.29, 1.74), all p < 0.0002], and they were also positively associated with incident CVD [ORs (95% CI) ranged from 1.19 (1.02, 1.39) to 1.35 (1.17, 1.56), all p < 0.05].
Conclusions: Serum metabolites relating to glycolysis, fluid balance and inflammation were independently associated with both a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis and with symptomatic CVD in people with type 2 diabetes. Additional investigation is warranted to determine their roles as possible etiological and/or predictive biomarkers for atherosclerotic CVD.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular diseases; Glycolysis; Lactate; Lipidomics; Metabolomics; Type 2 diabetes.
© 2022. The Author(s).