(HealthDay News) – In elderly individuals without type 2 diabetes, high levels of fetuin-A, a protein that inhibits arterial calcification and insulin action, is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in Diabetes Care.
Majken K. Jensen, PhD, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues measured serum fetuin-A levels in 1992 in 3,810 individuals ≥65 years (511 with type 2 diabetes) who were free of cardiovascular disease. Participants were followed though June 2008 for incident cardiovascular disease.
During a median follow-up of 10.9 years, the researchers recorded a cardiovascular event in 1,456 individuals overall and in 248 of the individuals with type 2 diabetes. Higher fetuin-A levels were associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease in the absence of type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio [HR], 0.93 per 0.1g/L higher fetuin-A). For individuals with type 2 diabetes, higher fetuin-A levels were associated with a non-significant increase in cardiovascular disease risk. Higher fetuin-A levels were associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease only in non-obese individuals (HR, 0.91) and in those with Homeostasis Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance below the median (HR, 0.87).
“In a population of older community-living persons, the association of fetuin-A concentrations with risk of incident cardiovascular disease is modified by insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes,” Jensen and colleagues conclude.