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1.  GALNT2 Expression Is Reduced in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: Possible Role of Hyperglycemia 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70159.
Impaired insulin action plays a major role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, a chronic metabolic disorder which imposes a tremendous burden to morbidity and mortality worldwide. Unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance would improve setting up preventive and treatment strategies of type 2 diabetes. Down-regulation of GALNT2, an UDPN-acetyl-alpha-D-galactosamine polypeptideN-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-2 (ppGalNAc-T2), causes impaired insulin signaling and action in cultured human liver cells. In addition, GALNT2 mRNA levels are down-regulated in liver of spontaneously insulin resistant, diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rats. To investigate the role of GALNT2 in human hyperglycemia, we measured GALNT2 mRNA expression levels in peripheral whole blood cells of 84 non-obese and 46 obese non-diabetic individuals as well as of 98 obese patients with type 2 diabetes. We also measured GALNT2 mRNA expression in human U937 cells cultured under different glucose concentrations. In vivo studies indicated that GALNT2 mRNA levels were significantly reduced from non obese control to obese non diabetic and to obese diabetic individuals (p<0.001). In vitro studies showed that GALNT2 mRNA levels was reduced in U937 cells exposed to high glucose concentrations (i.e. 25 mmol/l glucose) as compared to cells exposed to low glucose concentration (i.e. 5.5 mmol/l glucose +19.5 mmol/l mannitol). In conclusion, our data indicate that GALNT2 is down-regulated in patients with type 2 diabetes and suggest that this association is, at least partly, secondary to hyperglycemia. Further studies are needed to understand whether GALNT2 down-regulation plays a pathogenic role in maintaining and/or aggravating the metabolic abnormalities of diabetic milieu.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070159
PMCID: PMC3718685  PMID: 23894607
2.  Serum Resistin, Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause Mortality in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e64729.
Background
High serum resistin has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the general population, Only sparse and conflicting results, limited to Asian individuals, have been reported, so far, in type 2 diabetes. We studied the role of serum resistin on coronary artery disease, major cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality in type 2 diabetes.
Methods
We tested the association of circulating resistin concentrations with coronary artery disease, major cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction and non-fatal stroke) and all-cause mortality in 2,313 diabetic patients of European ancestry from two cross-sectional and two prospective studies. In addition, the expression of resistin gene (RETN) was measured in blood cells of 68 diabetic patients and correlated with their serum resistin levels.
Results
In a model comprising age, sex, smoking habits, BMI, HbA1c, and insulin, antihypertensive and antidyslipidemic therapies, serum resistin was associated with coronary artery disease in both cross-sectional studies: OR (95%CI) per SD increment = 1.35 (1.10–1.64) and 1.99 (1.55–2.55). Additionally, serum resistin predicted incident major cardiovascular events (HR per SD increment = 1.31; 1.10–1.56) and all-cause mortality (HR per SD increment = 1.16; 1.06–1.26). Adjusting also for fibrinogen levels affected the association with coronary artery disease and incident cardiovascular events, but not that with all cause-mortality. Finally, serum resistin was positively correlated with RETN mRNA expression (rho = 0.343).
Conclusions
This is the first study showing that high serum resistin (a likely consequence, at least partly, of increased RETN expression) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in diabetic patients of European ancestry.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064729
PMCID: PMC3670852  PMID: 23755138
3.  Serum Resistin and Kidney Function: A Family-Based Study in Non-Diabetic, Untreated Individuals 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38414.
Background
High serum resistin levels have been associated with kidney dysfunction. Most of these studies have been carried out in individuals with severe kidney impairment, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and related treatments. Thus, the observed association might have been influenced by these confounders. Our aim was to study the relationship between serum resistin, urinary albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in a family-based sample, the Gargano Family Study (GFS) of 635 non diabetic, untreated Whites.
Methods
A linear mixed effects model and bivariate analyses were used to evaluate the phenotypic and genetic relations between serum resistin and both ACR and eGFR. All analyses were adjusted for sex, age, age squared, BMI, systolic blood pressure, smoking habits and physical exercise.
Results
After adjustments, resistin levels were slightly positively associated with ACR (β±SE = 0.049±0.023, p = 0.035) and inversely related to eGFR (β±SE = −1.43±0.61, p = 0.018) levels. These associations remained significant when either eGFR or ACR were, reciprocally, added as covariates. A genetic correlation (ρg = −0.31±0.12; adjusted p = 0.013) was observed between resistin and eGFR (but not ACR) levels.
Conclusion
Serum resistin levels are independently associated with ACR and eGFR in untreated non-diabetic individuals. Serum resistin and eGFR share also some common genetic background. Our data strongly suggest that resistin plays a role in modulating kidney function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038414
PMCID: PMC3373540  PMID: 22701635
4.  Circulating HMW adiponectin isoform is heritable and shares a common genetic background with insulin resistance in non diabetic White Caucasians from Italy: evidence from a family-based study 
Journal of internal medicine  2009;267(3):287-294.
Objective
Reduced circulating adiponectin levels contribute to the etiology of insulin-resistance. Adiponectin circulates in three different isoforms: high (HMW), medium (MMW), and low (LMW) molecular weight. The genetics of adiponectin isoforms is mostly unknown. Our aim was to investigate whether and to which extent circulating adiponectin isoforms are heritable and whether they share common genetic backgrounds with insulin resistance-related traits.
Methods
In a family based sample of 640 non diabetic White Caucasians from Italy, serum adiponectin isoforms concentrations were measured by ELISA. Three SNPs in the ADIPOQ gene previously reported to affect total adiponectin levels (rs17300539, rs1501299 and rs677395) were genotyped. The heritability of adiponectin isoform levels was assessed by variance component analysis. A linear mixed effects model was used to test association between SNPs and adiponectin isoforms. Bivariate analyses were conducted to study genetic correlations between adiponectin isoforms levels and other insulin resistance-related traits.
Results
All isoforms were highly heritable (h2=0.60−0.80, p=1×10−13–1×10−23). SNPs rs17300539, rs1501299 and rs6773957 explained a significant proportion of HMW variance (2–9%, p=1×10−3–1×10−5). In a multiple-SNP model, only rs17300539 and rs1501299 remained associated with HMW adiponectin (p=3×10−4 and 2.0×10−2). Significant genetic correlations (p=1×10−2–1×10−5) were observed between HMW adiponectin and fasting insulin, HOMAIR, HDL-cholesterol and the metabolic syndrome score. Only rs1501299 partly accounted for these genetic correlations.
Conclusion
Circulating levels of adiponectin isoforms are highly heritable. The genetic control of HMW adiponectin is shared in part with insulin resistance-related traits and involves, but is not limited to the ADIPOQ locus.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2009.02141.x
PMCID: PMC2833228  PMID: 19761474
ADIPOQ gene; Adiponectin isoforms; insulin resistance

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