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1.  Latent cytomegalovirus infection is an independent risk factor for late graft failure in renal transplant recipients 
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a risk factor for rejection and mortality soon after renal transplantation. Little is known about its consequences longer after transplantation. We prospectively investigated whether latent CMV infection is a risk factor for graft failure and mortality long after transplantation.
Our study included 606 renal transplant recipients (RTR) with a functioning graft for >1 year. CMV serology was determined using ELISA. RTRs were divided into CMV-seronegative and latent CMV (seropositive + seroconverted).
We measured CMV IgG at 6.0 [2.6–11.4] years post-transplant. During follow-up (7.0 [6.2–7.5] years), 54 (9%) RTRs experienced graft failure and 137 (23%) RTRs died. Risk for graft failure and mortality was significantly higher in RTRs with latent CMV compared to CMV-seronegative RTRs (HR=3.1, P=0.005 and HR=2.0, P=0.002, respectively). After adjustment for potential confounders, latent CMV infection remained an independent risk factor for graft failure (HR=4.6, P=0.001), but not for mortality (HR=1.4, P=0.2).
Latent CMV is an independent risk factor for graft failure long after renal transplantation and carries a higher risk for graft failure than for mortality. These findings confirm the notion that latent CMV can be harmful in transplanted kidneys.
PMCID: PMC3539501  PMID: 22037739
cytomegalovirus; chronic transplant dysfunction; recipient survival; renal transplantation
2.  Multicentre prospective validation of a urinary peptidome-based classifier for the diagnosis of type 2 diabetic nephropathy 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2014;29(8):1563-1570.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the major late complications of diabetes. Treatment aimed at slowing down the progression of DN is available but methods for early and definitive detection of DN progression are currently lacking. The ‘Proteomic prediction and Renin angiotensin aldosterone system Inhibition prevention Of early diabetic nephRopathy In TYpe 2 diabetic patients with normoalbuminuria trial’ (PRIORITY) aims to evaluate the early detection of DN in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) using a urinary proteome-based classifier (CKD273).
In this ancillary study of the recently initiated PRIORITY trial we aimed to validate for the first time the CKD273 classifier in a multicentre (9 different institutions providing samples from 165 T2D patients) prospective setting. In addition we also investigated the influence of sample containers, age and gender on the CKD273 classifier.
We observed a high consistency of the CKD273 classification scores across the different centres with areas under the curves ranging from 0.95 to 1.00. The classifier was independent of age (range tested 16–89 years) and gender. Furthermore, the use of different urine storage containers did not affect the classification scores. Analysis of the distribution of the individual peptides of the classifier over the nine different centres showed that fragments of blood-derived and extracellular matrix proteins were the most consistently found.
We provide for the first time validation of this urinary proteome-based classifier in a multicentre prospective setting and show the suitability of the CKD273 classifier to be used in the PRIORITY trial.
PMCID: PMC4118140  PMID: 24589724
biomarkers; chronic kidney disease; diabetic nephropathy; diagnosis; urine proteomics
3.  Serum Proenkephalin A Levels and Mortality After Long-Term Follow-Up in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (ZODIAC-32) 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133065.
Two previous studies concluded that proenkephalin A (PENK-A) had predictive capabilities for stroke severity, recurrent myocardial infarction, heart failure and mortality in patients with stroke and myocardial infarction.
This study aimed to investigate the value of PENK-A as a biomarker for predicting mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus were included from the prospective observational ZODIAC (Zwolle Outpatient Diabetes project Integrating Available Care) study. The present analysis incorporated two ZODIAC cohorts (1998 and 2001). Since blood was drawn for 1204 out of 1688 patients (71%), and information on relevant confounders was missing in 47 patients, the final sample comprised 1157 patients. Cox proportional hazard models were used for evaluating the relationship between PENK-A and (cardiovascular) mortality. Risk prediction capabilities were assessed with Harrell’s C statistics and the integrated discrimination improvement (IDI).
After a follow-up period of 14 years, 525 (45%) out of 1157 patients had died, of which 224 (43%) were attributable to cardiovascular factors. Higher Log PENK-A levels were not independently associated with increased (cardiovascular) mortality. Patients with PENK-A values in the highest tertile had a 49% (95%CI 1%-121%) higher risk of cardiovascular mortality compared to patients in the reference category (lowest tertile). C-values were not different after removing PENK-A from the Cox models and there were no significant differences in IDI values.
The associations between PENK-A and mortality were strongly attenuated after accounting for all traditional risk factors. Furthermore, PENK-A did not seem to have additional value beyond conventional risk factors when predicting all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.
PMCID: PMC4517864  PMID: 26218633
4.  Serum Alkaline Phosphatase and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease: Interrelationship with High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0132822.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) has been suggested to be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, however, important aspects of the association, such as shape and independence from established risk factors, have yet to be characterized in detail. We assessed the association of ALP with CVD risk and determined its utility for CVD risk prediction.
Alkaline phosphatase activity was measured at baseline in the PREVEND prospective cohort involving 6,974 participants aged 28-75 years without pre-existing CVD. Hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals [CI]) and measures of risk discrimination and reclassification were assessed.
During a median follow-up of 10.5 years, 737 participants developed CVD. Serum ALP was correlated with several risk markers for CVD, with strongest correlations for age (r = 0.30; P < 0.001), gamma-glutamyltransferase (r = 0.26; P < 0.001), and C-reactive protein (CRP) (r = 0.25; P < 0.001). There was a non-linear “J-shaped” relationship between ALP and CVD risk. In analyses adjusted for conventional risk factors, the hazard ratio (95% CI) for CVD in a comparison of the top quintile versus bottom quintiles 1-4 of ALP values was 1.34 (1.14 to 1.56; P<0.001), which persisted after additional adjustment for potential confounders 1.33 (1.13 to 1.55; P<0.001). However, the association was somewhat attenuated after adjustment for CRP 1.24 (1.05 to 1.45; P=0.009). Addition of information on ALP to a CVD risk prediction model containing established risk factors did not improve the C-index or net reclassification.
Available evidence suggests a non-linear association between ALP activity and CVD risk, which is partly dependent on CRP. Taking account of conventional risk factors, additional information on ALP does not improve CVD risk assessment.
PMCID: PMC4500413  PMID: 26167920
5.  Plasma ADMA associates with all-cause mortality in renal transplant recipients 
Amino Acids  2015;47(9):1941-1949.
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is a key endogenous inhibitor of endothelial NO synthase that affects endothelial function, blood pressure and vascular remodeling. Increased plasma levels of ADMA are associated with worse outcome from cardiovascular disease. Due to endothelial dysfunction before and after kidney transplantation, renal transplant recipients (RTR) are at high risk for the alleged deleterious effects of ADMA. We investigated the associations of ADMA levels with all-cause mortality and graft failure in RTR. Plasma ADMA levels were determined in 686 stable outpatient RTR (57 % male, 53 ± 13 years), with a functioning graft for ≥1 year. Determinants of ADMA were evaluated with multivariate linear regression models. Associations between ADMA and mortality were assessed using multivariable Cox regression analyses. The strongest associations with plasma ADMA in the multivariable analyses were male gender, donor age, parathyroid hormone, NT-pro-BNP and use of calcium supplements. During a median follow-up of 3.1 [2.7–3.9] years, 79 (12 %) patients died and 45 (7 %) patients developed graft failure. ADMA was associated with increased all-cause mortality [HR 1.52 (95 % CI 1.26–1.83] per SD increase, P < 0.001], whereby associations remained upon adjustment for confounders. ADMA was associated with graft failure [HR 1.41 (1.08–1.83) per SD increase, P = 0.01]; however, upon addition of eGFR significance was lost. High levels of plasma ADMA are associated with increased mortality in RTR. Our findings connect disturbed NO metabolism with patient survival after kidney transplantation.
PMCID: PMC4549386  PMID: 26077715
Asymmetric dimethylarginine; Kidney; Survival; Transplantation
6.  Elevated Urinary Connective Tissue Growth Factor in Diabetic Nephropathy Is Caused by Local Production and Tubular Dysfunction 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2015;2015:539787.
Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF; CCN2) plays a role in the development of diabetic nephropathy (DN). Urinary CTGF (uCTGF) is elevated in DN patients and has been proposed as a biomarker for disease progression, but it is unknown which pathophysiological factors contribute to elevated uCTGF. We studied renal handling of CTGF by infusion of recombinant CTGF in diabetic mice. In addition, uCTGF was measured in type 1 DN patients and compared with glomerular and tubular dysfunction and damage markers. In diabetic mice, uCTGF was increased and fractional excretion (FE) of recombinant CTGF was substantially elevated indicating reduced tubular reabsorption. FE of recombinant CTGF correlated with excretion of endogenous CTGF. CTGF mRNA was mainly localized in glomeruli and medullary tubules. Comparison of FE of endogenous and recombinant CTGF indicated that 60% of uCTGF had a direct renal source, while 40% originated from plasma CTGF. In DN patients, uCTGF was independently associated with markers of proximal and distal tubular dysfunction and damage. In conclusion, uCTGF in DN is elevated as a result of both increased local production and reduced reabsorption due to tubular dysfunction. We submit that uCTGF is a biomarker reflecting both glomerular and tubulointerstitial hallmarks of diabetic kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC4485941  PMID: 26171399
7.  Changes in Plasma Copeptin Levels during Hemodialysis: Are the Physiological Stimuli Active in Hemodialysis Patients? 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0127116.
Plasma levels of copeptin, a surrogate marker for the vasoconstrictor hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP), are increased in hemodialysis patients. Presently, it is unknown what drives copeptin levels in hemodialysis patients. We investigated whether the established physiological stimuli for copeptin release, i.e. plasma osmolality, blood volume and mean arterial pressure (MAP), are operational in hemodialysis patients.
One hundred and eight prevalent, stable hemodialysis patients on a thrice-weekly dialysis schedule were studied during hemodialysis with constant ultrafiltration rate and dialysate conductivity in this observational study. Plasma levels of copeptin, sodium, MAP, and blood volume were measured before, during and after hemodialysis. Multivariate analysis was used to determine the association between copeptin (dependent variable) and the physiological stimuli plasma sodium, MAP, excess weight as well as NT-pro-BNP immediately prior to dialysis and between copeptin and changes of plasma sodium, MAP and blood volume with correction for age, sex and diabetes during dialysis treatment.
Patients were 63±15.6 years old and 65% were male. Median dialysis vintage was 1.6 years (IQR 0.7–4.0). Twenty-three percent of the patients had diabetes and 82% had hypertension. Median predialysis copeptin levels were 141.5 pmol/L (IQR 91.0–244.8 pmol/L). Neither predialysis plasma sodium levels, nor NT-proBNP levels, nor MAP were associated with predialysis copeptin levels. During hemodialysis, copeptin levels rose significantly (p<0.01) to 163.0 pmol/L (96.0–296.0 pmol/L). Decreases in blood volume and MAP were associated with increases in copeptin levels during dialysis, whereas there was no significant association between the change in plasma sodium levels and the change in copeptin levels.
Plasma copeptin levels are elevated predialysis and increase further during hemodialysis. Volume stimuli, i.e. decreases in MAP and blood volume, rather than osmotic stimuli, are associated with change in copeptin levels during hemodialysis.
PMCID: PMC4431805  PMID: 25973954
8.  A Panel of Novel Biomarkers Representing Different Disease Pathways Improves Prediction of Renal Function Decline in Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0120995.
We aimed to identify a novel panel of biomarkers predicting renal function decline in type 2 diabetes, using biomarkers representing different disease pathways speculated to contribute to the progression of diabetic nephropathy.
Research Design and Methods
A systematic data integration approach was used to select biomarkers representing different disease pathways. Twenty-eight biomarkers were measured in 82 patients seen at an outpatient diabetes center in The Netherlands. Median follow-up was 4.0 years. We compared the cross-validated explained variation (R2) of two models to predict eGFR decline, one including only established risk markers, the other adding a novel panel of biomarkers. Least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) was used for model estimation. The C-index was calculated to assess improvement in prediction of accelerated eGFR decline defined as <-3.0 mL/min/1.73m2/year.
Patients’ average age was 63.5 years and baseline eGFR was 77.9 mL/min/1.73m2. The average rate of eGFR decline was -2.0 ± 4.7 mL/min/1.73m2/year. When modeled on top of established risk markers, the biomarker panel including matrix metallopeptidases, tyrosine kinase, podocin, CTGF, TNF-receptor-1, sclerostin, CCL2, YKL-40, and NT-proCNP improved the explained variability of eGFR decline (R2 increase from 37.7% to 54.6%; p=0.018) and improved prediction of accelerated eGFR decline (C-index increase from 0.835 to 0.896; p=0.008).
A novel panel of biomarkers representing different pathways of renal disease progression including inflammation, fibrosis, angiogenesis, and endothelial function improved prediction of eGFR decline on top of established risk markers in type 2 diabetes. These results need to be confirmed in a large prospective cohort.
PMCID: PMC4431870  PMID: 25973922
9.  Erythropoietin in the General Population: Reference Ranges and Clinical, Biochemical and Genetic Correlates 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0125215.
Although erythropoietin has been used for decades in the treatment of anemia, data regarding endogenous levels in the general population are scarce. Therefore, we determined erythropoietin reference ranges and its clinical, biochemical and genetic associations in the general population.
We used data from 6,777 subjects enrolled in the Prevention of REnal and Vascular ENd-stage Disease (PREVEND) study. Fasting venous blood samples were obtained in the morning from all participants from 2001–2003. Serum erythropoietin concentrations were measured using a fully automated chemiluminescent enzyme-labeled immunometric assay. A genome-wide association study was performed to identify genetic determinants.
Mean age (± SD) was 53 ± 12 years and 50% were female. Median (IQR) erythropoietin concentrations were 7.6 (5.8–9.9) IU/L in men and 7.9 (6.0–10.6) IU/L in women. A strong positive correlation was found between erythropoietin and waist circumference, glucose and systolic blood pressure (all P < 0.05). In subjects with normal renal function there was a strong exponential relation between hemoglobin and erythropoietin, whereas in renal impairment (eGFR < 60 mL/min/1.73m²) this relation was linear (men) or absent (women) (P < 0.001 for interaction). Single-nucleotide polymorphisms at the HBS1L-MYB locus were shown to be related to erythropoietin levels (P < 9x10-21), more significantly than other erythrocyte parameters.
We provide age-specific reference ranges for endogenous serum erythropoietin. Erythropoietin levels are positively associated with the components of the metabolic syndrome, except cholesterol. We show that even mild renal failure blunts erythropoietin production and propose the HBS1L-MYB locus as a regulator of erythropoietin.
PMCID: PMC4411129  PMID: 25915923
10.  Glycated Hemoglobin Measurement and Prediction of Cardiovascular Disease 
Angelantonio, Emanuele Di | Gao, Pei | Khan, Hassan | Butterworth, Adam S. | Wormser, David | Kaptoge, Stephen | Kondapally Seshasai, Sreenivasa Rao | Thompson, Alex | Sarwar, Nadeem | Willeit, Peter | Ridker, Paul M | Barr, Elizabeth L.M. | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Psaty, Bruce M. | Brenner, Hermann | Balkau, Beverley | Dekker, Jacqueline M. | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Daimon, Makoto | Willeit, Johann | Njølstad, Inger | Nissinen, Aulikki | Brunner, Eric J. | Kuller, Lewis H. | Price, Jackie F. | Sundström, Johan | Knuiman, Matthew W. | Feskens, Edith J. M. | Verschuren, W. M. M. | Wald, Nicholas | Bakker, Stephan J. L. | Whincup, Peter H. | Ford, Ian | Goldbourt, Uri | Gómez-de-la-Cámara, Agustín | Gallacher, John | Simons, Leon A. | Rosengren, Annika | Sutherland, Susan E. | Björkelund, Cecilia | Blazer, Dan G. | Wassertheil-Smoller, Sylvia | Onat, Altan | Marín Ibañez, Alejandro | Casiglia, Edoardo | Jukema, J. Wouter | Simpson, Lara M. | Giampaoli, Simona | Nordestgaard, Børge G. | Selmer, Randi | Wennberg, Patrik | Kauhanen, Jussi | Salonen, Jukka T. | Dankner, Rachel | Barrett-Connor, Elizabeth | Kavousi, Maryam | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Evans, Denis | Wallace, Robert B. | Cushman, Mary | D’Agostino, Ralph B. | Umans, Jason G. | Kiyohara, Yutaka | Nakagawa, Hidaeki | Sato, Shinichi | Gillum, Richard F. | Folsom, Aaron R. | van der Schouw, Yvonne T. | Moons, Karel G. | Griffin, Simon J. | Sattar, Naveed | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Selvin, Elizabeth | Thompson, Simon G. | Danesh, John
JAMA  2014;311(12):1225-1233.
The value of measuring levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) for the prediction of first cardiovascular events is uncertain.
To determine whether adding information on HbA1c values to conventional cardiovascular risk factors is associated with improvement in prediction of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
Analysis of individual-participant data available from 73 prospective studies involving 294 998 participants without a known history of diabetes mellitus or CVD at the baseline assessment.
Measures of risk discrimination for CVD outcomes (eg, C-index) and reclassification (eg, net reclassification improvement) of participants across predicted 10-year risk categories of low (<5%), intermediate (5%to <7.5%), and high (≥7.5%) risk.
During a median follow-up of 9.9 (interquartile range, 7.6-13.2) years, 20 840 incident fatal and nonfatal CVD outcomes (13 237 coronary heart disease and 7603 stroke outcomes) were recorded. In analyses adjusted for several conventional cardiovascular risk factors, there was an approximately J-shaped association between HbA1c values and CVD risk. The association between HbA1c values and CVD risk changed only slightly after adjustment for total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations or estimated glomerular filtration rate, but this association attenuated somewhat after adjustment for concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and C-reactive protein. The C-index for a CVD risk prediction model containing conventional cardiovascular risk factors alone was 0.7434 (95% CI, 0.7350 to 0.7517). The addition of information on HbA1c was associated with a C-index change of 0.0018 (0.0003 to 0.0033) and a net reclassification improvement of 0.42 (−0.63 to 1.48) for the categories of predicted 10-year CVD risk. The improvement provided by HbA1c assessment in prediction of CVD risk was equal to or better than estimated improvements for measurement of fasting, random, or postload plasma glucose levels.
In a study of individuals without known CVD or diabetes, additional assessment of HbA1c values in the context of CVD risk assessment provided little incremental benefit for prediction of CVD risk.
PMCID: PMC4386007  PMID: 24668104
11.  Netrin-1, a urinary proximal tubular injury marker, is elevated early in the time course of human diabetes 
Journal of nephrology  2014;27(2):151-157.
Netrin-1 was recently identified as an early diagnostic biomarker of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in an experimental animal model. However, its usefulness for early diagnosis of CKD in humans is unknown. The current study evaluated whether netrin-1 is increased in urine from human diabetic patients.
Spot urine samples from healthy volunteers, diabetes without microalbuminuria, diabetes with microalbuminuria and diabetes with macroalbuminuria were collected after receiving consent. Netrin-1 in urine was quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the data analyzed to determine whether urinary netrin-1 significantly correlates with disease progression
Urinary netrin-1 levels were significantly increased in normoalbuminuric diabetic patients compared to healthy controls, and still further elevated in patients with microalbuminuria and overt nephropathy. Urinary netrin-1 was significantly associated with albuminuria and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), independently of age and sex.
Netrin-1 is detectable in urine from diabetic patients and may serve as a useful early diagnostic biomarker predicting the development of CKD in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3965190  PMID: 24510764
Biomarker; Netrin-1; Diabetic nephropathy; Albuminuria
12.  Bilirubin as a potential causal factor in type 2 diabetes risk: a Mendelian randomization study 
Diabetes  2014;64(4):1459-1469.
Circulating bilirubin, a natural antioxidant, is associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), but the nature of the relationship remains unknown. We performed Mendelian randomization in a prospective cohort of 3,381 participants free of diabetes at baseline (aged 28-75 years; women, 52.6%). We used rs6742078 located in UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT1A1) locus as instrumental variable (IV) to study a potential causal effect of serum total bilirubin on T2D risk. T2D developed in a total of 210 (6.2%) participants during a median follow-up of 7.8 years. In adjusted analyses, rs6742078, which explained 19.5% of bilirubin variation, was strongly associated with total bilirubin (a 0.68-SD increase in bilirubin levels per T allele; P<1×10−122) and was also associated with T2D risk (OR 0.69 [95%CI, 0.54-0.90]; P=0.006). Per 1-SD increase in log-transformed bilirubin levels, we observed a 25% (OR 0.75 [95%CI, 0.62-0.92]; P=0.004) lower risk of T2D. In Mendelian randomization analysis, the causal risk reduction for T2D was estimated to be 42% (causal ORIVestimation per 1-SD increase in log-transformed bilirubin 0.58 [95%CI, 0.39-0.84]; P=0.005), which was comparable to the observational estimate (Durbin-Wu-Hausman chi-square test Pfor difference =0.19). These novel results provide evidence that elevated bilirubin is causally associated with risk of T2D and support its role as a protective determinant.
PMCID: PMC4346199  PMID: 25368098
Bilirubin; liver; epidemiology; type 2 diabetes; Mendelian randomization
13.  Comparison of Methods for Renal Risk Prediction in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes (ZODIAC-36) 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0120477.
Patients with diabetes are at high risk of death prior to reaching end-stage renal disease, but most models predicting the risk of kidney disease do not take this competing risk into account. We aimed to compare the performance of Cox regression and competing risk models for prediction of early- and late-stage renal complications in type 2 diabetes.
Patients with type 2 diabetes participating in the observational ZODIAC study were included. Prediction models for (micro)albuminuria and 50% increase in serum creatinine (SCr) were developed using Cox regression and competing risk analyses. Model performance was assessed by discrimination and calibration.
During a total follow-up period of 10 years, 183 out of 640 patients (28.6%) with normoalbuminuria developed (micro)albuminuria, and 22 patients (3.4%) died without developing (micro)albuminuria (i.e. experienced the competing event). Seventy-nine out of 1,143 patients (6.9%) reached the renal end point of 50% increase in SCr, while 219 (19.2%) died without developing the renal end point. Performance of the Cox and competing risk models predicting (micro)albuminuria was similar and differences in predicted risks were small. However, the Cox model increasingly overestimated the risk of increase in SCr in presence of a substantial number of competing events, while the performance of the competing risk model was quite good.
In this study, we demonstrated that, in case of substantial numbers of competing events, it is important to account for the competing risk of death in renal risk prediction in patients with type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4361549  PMID: 25775414
14.  Low-Normal Free Thyroxine Confers Decreased Serum Bilirubin in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus 
Thyroid  2013;23(11):1367-1373.
Bilirubin may confer cardiovascular protection because of its strong antioxidative properties. Both thyroid dysfunction and the diabetic state affect bilirubin metabolism. Here we tested whether low-normal thyroid function affects serum bilirubin among euthyroid subjects with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Serum total bilirubin, thyrotropin and free thyroxine (free T4), transaminases, insulin sensitivity (homeostasis model assessment), and lipids were measured in 74 T2DM and 82 nondiabetic subjects with thyrotropin and free T4 levels within the euthyroid range.
Bilirubin was positively related to free T4 in T2DM subjects (r=0.370, p<0.001), but not in nondiabetic subjects (r=0.047, p=0.68). In age- and sex-adjusted multiple linear regression analysis, free T4 was found to interact positively with the presence of T2DM on serum bilirubin (interaction term: β=0.251, p=0.024). This interaction remained present after additional adjustment for alcohol intake, aspartate aminotransferase and insulin sensitivity (interaction term: β=0.222, p=0.043), or alternatively for cholesterol and triglycerides (interaction term: β=0.203, p=0.057).
Lower free T4 levels within the euthyroid range confer decreased bilirubin in T2DM. Low-normal thyroid function could enhance atherosclerosis susceptibility in T2DM by decreasing serum bilirubin.
PMCID: PMC3822386  PMID: 23638994
15.  Copeptin, a Surrogate Marker for Arginine Vasopressin, Is Associated With Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes (ZODIAC-31) 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(10):3201-3207.
Copeptin, a surrogate marker for arginine vasopressin, has been associated with cardiovascular (CV) events and mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes complicated by end-stage renal disease or acute myocardial infarction. For stable outpatients, these associations are unknown. Our aim was to investigate whether copeptin is associated with CV and all-cause mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes treated in primary care.
Patients with type 2 diabetes participating in the observational Zwolle Outpatient Diabetes Project Integrating Available Care (ZODIAC) study were included. Cox regression analyses with age as time scale were used to assess the relationship of baseline copeptin with CV and all-cause mortality.
We included 1,195 patients (age 67 ± 12 years, 44% male). Median baseline copeptin concentration was 5.4 (interquartile range [IQR] 3.1–9.6) pmol/L. After a median follow-up of 5.9 (IQR 3.2–10.1) years, 345 patients died (29%), with 148 CV deaths (12%). Log2 copeptin was associated with CV (hazard ratio 1.17 [95% CI 0.99–1.39]; P = 0.068) and all-cause mortality (1.22 [1.09–1.36]; P = 0.001) after adjustment for age, sex, BMI, smoking, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol to HDL ratio, duration of diabetes, HbA1c, treatment with ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, history of CV diseases, log serum creatinine, and log albumin to creatinine ratio; however, copeptin did not substantially improve risk prediction for CV (integrated discrimination improvement 0.14% [IQR −0.27 to 0.55%]) and all-cause mortality (0.77% [0.17–1.37%]) beyond currently used clinical markers.
We found copeptin to be associated with CV and all-cause mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes treated in primary care. Intervention studies should show whether the high CV risk in type 2 diabetes can be reduced by suppression of vasopressin, for example by reducing salt intake.
PMCID: PMC3781508  PMID: 23757433
16.  β2‐Microglobulin, Cystatin C, and Creatinine and Risk of Symptomatic Peripheral Artery Disease 
β2‐Microglobulin and cystatin C may have advantages over creatinine in assessing risk associated with kidney function. We therefore investigated whether emerging filtration markers, β2‐microglobulin and cystatin C, are prospectively associated with risk of the development of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Methods and Results
We conducted nested case‐control studies among women within the Nurses’ Health Study (1990–2010) and among men within the Health Professionals Follow‐up Study (1994–2008) with the use of archived blood samples collected before PAD diagnosis. During follow‐up, symptomatic PAD was confirmed in 144 women and 143 men. Controls were matched 3:1 based on age, race, smoking status, fasting status, and date of blood sampling. Conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate relative risks (RRs) and were adjusted for plasma creatinine and cardiovascular risk factors. In women, the RRs (95% CI) per 1‐SD) increment were 1.16 (0.85 to 1.58) for β2‐microglobulin and 0.94 (0.69 to 1.28) for cystatin C. Corresponding RRs in men were 1.50 (1.08 to 2.09) for β2‐microglobulin and 1.54 (1.07 to 2.22) for cystatin C. There was no association between creatinine and PAD risk in women, whereas the association in men (RR 1.41, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.81) disappeared after adjustment for either β2‐microglobulin or cystatin C. In pooled analyses of men and women, only β2‐microglobulin was associated with PAD risk (RR 1.31, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.64).
In pooled analyses, β2‐microglobulin was associated with an increased risk of symptomatic PAD; a similar association with cystatin C was observed only in men. The findings suggest that β2‐microglobulin may capture the atherosclerosis‐promoting or atherosclerosis‐related elements of kidney dysfunction better than creatinine.
PMCID: PMC4310365  PMID: 24980133
creatinine; cystatin C; kidney; peripheral artery disease; β2‐microglobulin
17.  Pancreatic β-Cell Dysfunction and Risk of New-Onset Diabetes After Kidney Transplantation 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(7):1926-1932.
Chronic exposure to calcineurin inhibitors and corticosteroids poses renal transplant recipients (RTR) at high risk for development of new-onset diabetes after transplantation (NODAT). Pancreatic β-cell dysfunction may be crucial to the pathophysiology of NODAT and specific markers for β-cell dysfunction may have additive value for predicting NODAT in this population. Therefore, we prospectively investigated whether proinsulin, as a marker of pancreatic β-cell dysfunction, is associated with future development of NODAT and improves prediction of it.
All RTR between 2001 and 2003 with a functioning graft for ≥1 year were considered eligible for inclusion, except for subjects with diabetes at baseline who were excluded. We recorded incidence of NODAT until April 2012.
A total of 487 RTR (age 50 ± 12 years, 55% men) participated at a median time of 6.0 (interquartile range [IQR], 2.6–11.5) years after transplantation. Median fasting proinsulin levels were 16.6 (IQR, 11.0–24.2) pmol/L. During median follow-up for 10.1 (IQR, 9.1–10.4) years, 42 (35%) RTR had development of NODAT in the highest quartile of the distribution of proinsulin versus 34 (9%) in the lowest three quartiles (P < 0.001). In Cox regression analyses, proinsulin (hazard ratio, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.85–2.83; P < 0.001) was strongly associated with NODAT development. This was independent of age, sex, calcineurine inhibitors, prednisolone use, components of the metabolic syndrome, or homeostasis model assessment.
In conclusion, fasting proinsulin is strongly associated with NODAT development in RTR. Our results highlight the role of β-cell dysfunction in the pathophysiology of NODAT and indicate the potential value of proinsulin for identification of RTR at increased risk for NODAT.
PMCID: PMC3687295  PMID: 23378624
18.  Circulating peroxiredoxin 4 and type 2 diabetes risk: the Prevention of Renal and Vascular Endstage Disease (PREVEND) study 
Diabetologia  2014;57(9):1842-1849.
Oxidative stress plays a key role in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. We previously showed that the circulating antioxidant peroxiredoxin 4 (Prx4) is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors. We aimed to evaluate the association of Prx4 with type 2 diabetes risk in the general population.
We analysed data on 7,972 individuals from the Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-stage Disease (PREVEND) study (49% men, aged 28–75 years) with no diabetes at baseline. Logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, smoking, waist circumference, hypertension and family history of diabetes were used to estimate the ORs for type 2 diabetes.
During a median follow up of 7.7 years, 496 individuals (288 men; 58%) developed type 2 diabetes. The median (Q1–Q3) Prx4 level was 0.84 (0.53–1.40) U/l in individuals who developed type 2 diabetes and 0.68 (0.43–1.08) U/l in individuals who did not develop type 2 diabetes. For every doubling of Prx4 levels, the adjusted OR (95% CI) for type 2 diabetes was 1.16 (1.05–1.29) in the whole population; by sex, it was 1.31 (1.14–1.50) for men and 1.03 (0.87–1.21) for women. Further adjustment for other clinical measures did not materially change the results. The addition of Prx4 to a validated diabetes risk score significantly improved the prediction of type 2 diabetes in men (p = 0.002 for reclassification improvement).
Our findings suggest that elevated serum Prx4 levels are associated with a higher risk of incident type 2 diabetes. For men, taking Prx4 into consideration can improve type 2 diabetes prediction over a validated diabetes risk score; in contrast, there is no improvement in risk prediction for women.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3278-9) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC4119240  PMID: 24893865
Epidemiology; Peroxiredoxin 4; Risk prediction; Sex difference; Type 2 diabetes
19.  Creatinine Excretion Rate and Mortality in Type 2 Diabetes and Nephropathy 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(6):1489-1494.
The creatinine excretion rate (CER) is inversely associated with mortality in the general and renal transplant population. The CER is a marker for muscle mass. It is unknown whether the CER is associated with outcome in diabetes. We therefore investigated whether the CER is a determinant of all-cause mortality in diabetic patients.
We used data from the combined Reduction of Endpoints in Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus with the Angiotensin II Antagonist Losartan (RENAAL) and Irbesartan Diabetic Nephropathy Trial (IDNT) studies. A total of 1,872 patients (58% of the overall population) with type 2 diabetes and nephropathy with valid 24-h urinary creatinine excretion data were included. The primary end point of the analyses was all-cause mortality.
Mean age was 60 ± 8 years and median CER was 1,407 (total range 400–3,406) mg/day. Body surface area, hemoglobin, black race, and albuminuria were positive independent determinants of the CER, whereas female sex and age were inverse independent determinants of the CER. During a median follow-up of 36 (29–45) months, 300 patients died. In a Kaplan-Meier analysis of sex-stratified tertiles of the CER, risk for all-cause mortality increased with decreasing CER (P < 0.001). In a multivariable Cox regression analysis, lower CER (as a continuous variable) was independently associated with increased risk for all-cause mortality (hazard ratio 0.39 [95% CI 0.29–0.52], P < 0.001). Adjustment for potential collection errors did not materially change these associations.
Lower CER was strongly associated with increased all-cause mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes and nephropathy. As the CER can be considered a proxy for muscle mass, this puts renewed emphasis on physical condition and exercise in this population.
PMCID: PMC3661815  PMID: 23300289
20.  The Midregional Fragment of Pro-A–Type Natriuretic Peptide, Blood Pressure, and Mortality in a Prospective Cohort Study of Patients With Type 2 Diabetes (ZODIAC-25) 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(5):1347-1352.
Evidence that midregional fragment of pro-A–type natriuretic peptide (MR-proANP) is a marker of mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes is limited. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the capabilities of MR-proANP in predicting mortality. We also investigated whether MR-proANP influences the relationship between blood pressure and mortality in old age.
In 1998, 1,143 primary care patients with type 2 diabetes participated in the ZODIAC study. Because blood was drawn for 867 patients (76%) and confounders were missing for 19 patients, the final study sample comprised 848 patients. After a follow-up time of 10 years, we used Cox proportional hazard models to evaluate the relationship between MR-proANP and (cardiovascular) mortality. Harrell C statistic was used to compare models with and without MR-proANP. The regression analyses were repeated without MR-proANP for patients aged older than 75 years.
Median MR-proANP in the total study sample was 75 pmol/L (interquartile range, 48–124 pmol/L). During follow-up, 354 (42%) out of 848 patients had died, of whom 152 (43%) deaths were attributable to cardiovascular factors. MR-proANP was independently associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, irrespective of age. During old age, there was a significant inverse relationship between blood pressure and mortality. This relationship did not change after adjustment for MR-proANP.
MR-proANP is independently associated with mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes. MR-proANP did not influence the inverse relationship between blood pressure and mortality in elderly patients.
PMCID: PMC3631859  PMID: 23230100
21.  The Association of Albuminuria With Tubular Reabsorption of Uric Acid: Results From a General Population Cohort 
Elevated albuminuria as well as an increased serum uric acid concentration is associated with poor cardiovascular outcome. We questioned whether these 2 variables (albuminuria and serum uric concentration) may be interrelated via tubular uric acid reabsorption.
Methods and Results
Included were 7688 participants of the PREVEND Study, an observational, general population‐based cohort study. Linear regression analyses were used to test associations of baseline albuminuria with baseline serum uric acid concentration and tubular uric acid reabsorption (calculated as [100−fractional uric acid excretion]%). Cox regression analyses were used to study the association of baseline serum uric acid and albuminuria with incident cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In cross‐sectional analyses, albuminuria was associated positively with serum uric acid concentration, both crude and after adjustment for potential confounders (both P<0.001). Albuminuria was found to be associated positively with tubular uric acid reabsorption, again both crude and after adjustment for potential confounders (both P<0.001). In longitudinal analyses during a median follow‐up of 10.5 years, 702 cardiovascular events occurred. After adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, both albuminuria and serum uric acid were associated with incident cardiovascular events (Hazard Ratios 1.09 [1.03 to 1.17], P=0.01 and 1.19 [1.09 to 1.30], P<0.001, respectively). A significant interaction between these variables was present (P<0.001), consistent with high serum uric acid being less predictive for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the presence of high albuminuria and vice versa.
Albuminuria is strongly associated with tubular uric acid reabsorption, and consequently with serum uric acid concentration. This phenomenon may explain in part why albuminuria is associated with cardiovascular outcome.
PMCID: PMC4187485  PMID: 24772520
albuminuria; cardiovascular outcome; tubular reabsorption; uric acid
22.  The Relationship of the Anti-Oxidant Bilirubin with Free Thyroxine Is Modified by Insulin Resistance in Euthyroid Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90886.
The strong anti-oxidative properties of bilirubin largely explain its cardioprotective effects. Insulin resistance is featured by low circulating bilirubin. Thyroid hormone affects both bilirubin generation and its biliary transport, but it is unknown whether circulating bilirubin is associated with thyroid function in euthyroid subjects. Aim is to determine relationships of bilirubin with TSH, free T4 and free T3 in euthyroid subjects without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and to assess whether such a relationship would be modified by the degree of insulin resistance.
Total bilirubin, TSH, free T4, free T3, glucose, insulin, lipids and transaminases were measured in 1854 fasting euthyroid subjects without T2DM, recruited from the general population (PREVEND cohort). Insulin resistance was assessed by homeostasis model assessment.
Bilirubin was positively related to free T4 (β = 0.116, P<0.001) and free T3 (β = 0.078, P = 0.001), but bilirubin was unrelated to TSH. The relationship of bilirubin with free T4 was modified by insulin resistance with a larger effect in more insulin resistant individuals (adjusted for age and sex: β = 0.043, P = 0.056 for interaction; additionally adjusted for smoking, alcohol intake, transaminases and total cholesterol (β = 0.044, P = 0.044 for interaction). The association of bilirubin with free T4 was also modified by high density lipoprotein cholesterol (age- and sex-adjusted: β = 0.040, P = 0.072).
Low bilirubin relates to low free T4 in euthyroid non-diabetic subjects. Low normal free T4 may particularly confer low bilirubin in more insulin resistant individuals.
PMCID: PMC3940953  PMID: 24595410
23.  Hypertension and Low HDL-Cholesterol were Associated with Reduced Kidney Function Across the Age Spectrum: A Collaborative Study 
Annals of epidemiology  2013;23(3):106-111.
To determine if the associations among established risk factors and reduced kidney function vary by age.
We pooled cross-sectional data from 14,788 non-diabetics aged 40–100 years in 4 studies: Cardiovascular Health Study, Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, and Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease cohort.
Hypertension and low HDL-cholesterol were associated with reduced cystatin C-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) across the age spectrum. In adjusted analyses, hypertension was associated with a 2.3 (95% CI 0.1, 4.4), 5.1 (4.1, 6.1), and 6.9 (3.0, 10.4) mL/min/1.73 m2 lower eGFR in participants 40–59, 60–79, and 80+ years, respectively (p-value for interaction <0.001). The association of low HDL-cholesterol with reduced kidney function was also greater in the older age groups: 4.9 (3.5, 6.3), 7.1 (CI 6.0, 8.3), 8.9 (CI 5.4, 11.9) mL/min/1.73 m2 (p-value for interaction <0.001). Smoking and obesity were associated with reduced kidney function in participants under 80 years. All estimates of the potential population impact of the risk factors were modest.
Hypertension, obesity, smoking, and low HDL-cholesterol are modestly associated with reduced kidney function in non-diabetics. The associations of hypertension and HDL-cholesterol with reduced kidney function appear stronger in older adults.
PMCID: PMC3570601  PMID: 23313266
Chronic kidney insufficiency; aged; hypertension; cholesterol; obesity; smoking
24.  Serum Peroxiredoxin 4: A Marker of Oxidative Stress Associated with Mortality in Type 2 Diabetes (ZODIAC-28) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89719.
Oxidative stress plays an underlying pathophysiologic role in the development of diabetes complications. The aim of this study was to investigate peroxiredoxin 4 (Prx4), a proposed novel biomarker of oxidative stress, and its association with and capability as a biomarker in predicting (cardiovascular) mortality in type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Prx4 was assessed in baseline serum samples of 1161 type 2 diabetes patients. Cox proportional hazard models were used to evaluate the relationschip between Prx4 and (cardiovascular) mortality. Risk prediction capabilities of Prx4 for (cardiovascular) mortality were assessed with Harrell’s C statistic, the integrated discrimination improvement and net reclassification improvement.
Mean age was 67 and the median diabetes duration was 4.0 years. After a median follow-up period of 5.8 years, 327 patients died; 137 cardiovascular deaths. Prx4 was associated with (cardiovascular) mortality. The Cox proportional hazard models added the variables: Prx4 (model 1); age and gender (model 2), and BMI, creatinine, smoking, diabetes duration, systolic blood pressure, cholesterol-HDL ratio, history of macrovascular complications, and albuminuria (model 3). Hazard ratios (HR) (95% CI) for cardiovascular mortality were 1.93 (1.57 – 2.38), 1.75 (1.39 – 2.20), and 1.63 (1.28 – 2.09) for models 1, 2 and 3, respectively. HR for all-cause mortality were 1.73 (1.50 – 1.99), 1.50 (1.29 – 1.75), and 1.44 (1.23 – 1.67) for models 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Addition of Prx4 to the traditional risk factors slightly improved risk prediction of (cardiovascular) mortality.
Prx4 is independently associated with (cardiovascular) mortality in type 2 diabetes patients. After addition of Prx4 to the traditional risk factors, there was a slightly improvement in risk prediction of (cardiovascular) mortality in this patient group.
PMCID: PMC3934910  PMID: 24586984
25.  Assessing Risk Prediction Models Using Individual Participant Data From Multiple Studies 
Pennells, Lisa | Kaptoge, Stephen | White, Ian R. | Thompson, Simon G. | Wood, Angela M. | Tipping, Robert W. | Folsom, Aaron R. | Couper, David J. | Ballantyne, Christie M. | Coresh, Josef | Goya Wannamethee, S. | Morris, Richard W. | Kiechl, Stefan | Willeit, Johann | Willeit, Peter | Schett, Georg | Ebrahim, Shah | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Yarnell, John W. | Gallacher, John | Cushman, Mary | Psaty, Bruce M. | Tracy, Russ | Tybjærg-Hansen, Anne | Price, Jackie F. | Lee, Amanda J. | McLachlan, Stela | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Brenner, Hermann | Schöttker, Ben | Müller, Heiko | Jansson, Jan-Håkan | Wennberg, Patrik | Salomaa, Veikko | Harald, Kennet | Jousilahti, Pekka | Vartiainen, Erkki | Woodward, Mark | D'Agostino, Ralph B. | Bladbjerg, Else-Marie | Jørgensen, Torben | Kiyohara, Yutaka | Arima, Hisatomi | Doi, Yasufumi | Ninomiya, Toshiharu | Dekker, Jacqueline M. | Nijpels, Giel | Stehouwer, Coen D. A. | Kauhanen, Jussi | Salonen, Jukka T. | Meade, Tom W. | Cooper, Jackie A. | Cushman, Mary | Folsom, Aaron R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Shea, Steven | Döring, Angela | Kuller, Lewis H. | Grandits, Greg | Gillum, Richard F. | Mussolino, Michael | Rimm, Eric B. | Hankinson, Sue E. | Manson, JoAnn E. | Pai, Jennifer K. | Kirkland, Susan | Shaffer, Jonathan A. | Shimbo, Daichi | Bakker, Stephan J. L. | Gansevoort, Ron T. | Hillege, Hans L. | Amouyel, Philippe | Arveiler, Dominique | Evans, Alun | Ferrières, Jean | Sattar, Naveed | Westendorp, Rudi G. | Buckley, Brendan M. | Cantin, Bernard | Lamarche, Benoît | Barrett-Connor, Elizabeth | Wingard, Deborah L. | Bettencourt, Richele | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Aspelund, Thor | Sigurdsson, Gunnar | Thorsson, Bolli | Kavousi, Maryam | Witteman, Jacqueline C. | Hofman, Albert | Franco, Oscar H. | Howard, Barbara V. | Zhang, Ying | Best, Lyle | Umans, Jason G. | Onat, Altan | Sundström, Johan | Michael Gaziano, J. | Stampfer, Meir | Ridker, Paul M. | Michael Gaziano, J. | Ridker, Paul M. | Marmot, Michael | Clarke, Robert | Collins, Rory | Fletcher, Astrid | Brunner, Eric | Shipley, Martin | Kivimäki, Mika | Ridker, Paul M. | Buring, Julie | Cook, Nancy | Ford, Ian | Shepherd, James | Cobbe, Stuart M. | Robertson, Michele | Walker, Matthew | Watson, Sarah | Alexander, Myriam | Butterworth, Adam S. | Angelantonio, Emanuele Di | Gao, Pei | Haycock, Philip | Kaptoge, Stephen | Pennells, Lisa | Thompson, Simon G. | Walker, Matthew | Watson, Sarah | White, Ian R. | Wood, Angela M. | Wormser, David | Danesh, John
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;179(5):621-632.
Individual participant time-to-event data from multiple prospective epidemiologic studies enable detailed investigation into the predictive ability of risk models. Here we address the challenges in appropriately combining such information across studies. Methods are exemplified by analyses of log C-reactive protein and conventional risk factors for coronary heart disease in the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, a collation of individual data from multiple prospective studies with an average follow-up duration of 9.8 years (dates varied). We derive risk prediction models using Cox proportional hazards regression analysis stratified by study and obtain estimates of risk discrimination, Harrell's concordance index, and Royston's discrimination measure within each study; we then combine the estimates across studies using a weighted meta-analysis. Various weighting approaches are compared and lead us to recommend using the number of events in each study. We also discuss the calculation of measures of reclassification for multiple studies. We further show that comparison of differences in predictive ability across subgroups should be based only on within-study information and that combining measures of risk discrimination from case-control studies and prospective studies is problematic. The concordance index and discrimination measure gave qualitatively similar results throughout. While the concordance index was very heterogeneous between studies, principally because of differing age ranges, the increments in the concordance index from adding log C-reactive protein to conventional risk factors were more homogeneous.
PMCID: PMC3927974  PMID: 24366051
C index; coronary heart disease; D measure; individual participant data; inverse variance; meta-analysis; risk prediction; weighting

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