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1.  Circulating concentrations of GLP-1 are associated with coronary atherosclerosis in humans 
Background
GLP-1 is an incretine hormone which gets secreted from intestinal L-cells in response to nutritional stimuli leading to pancreatic insulin secretion and suppression of glucagon release. GLP-1 further inhibits gastric motility and reduces appetite which in conjunction improves postprandial glucose metabolism. Additional vasoprotective effects have been described for GLP-1 in experimental models. Despite these vasoprotective actions, associations between endogenous levels of GLP-1 and cardiovascular disease have yet not been investigated in humans which was the aim of the present study.
Methods
GLP-1 serum levels were assessed in a cohort of 303 patients receiving coronary CT-angiography due to typical or atypical chest pain.
Results
GLP-1 was found to be positively associated with total coronary plaque burden in a fully adjusted model containing age, sex, BMI, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking, triglycerides, LDL-C (low density lipoprotein cholesterol), hsCRP (high-sensitive C-reactive protein), and eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) (OR: 2.53 (95% CI: 1.12 – 6.08; p = 0.03).
Conclusion
Circulating GLP-1 was found to be positivity associated with coronary atherosclerosis in humans. The clinical relevance of this observation needs further investigations.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-12-117
PMCID: PMC3765863  PMID: 23953602
GLP-1; Atherosclerosis; Coronary CT angiography
2.  Metabolic syndrome predicts vascular changes in whole body magnetic resonance imaging in patients with long standing diabetes mellitus 
Background
Although diabetic patients have an increased rate of cardio-vascular events, there is considerable heterogeneity with respect to cardiovascular risk, requiring new approaches to individual cardiovascular risk factor assessment. In this study we used whole body-MR-angiography (WB-MRA) to assess the degree of atherosclerosis in patients with long-standing diabetes and to determine the association between metabolic syndrome (MetS) and atherosclerotic burden.
Methods
Long standing (≥10 years) type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients (n = 59; 31 males; 63.3 ± 1.7 years) were examined by WB-MRA. Based on the findings in each vessel, we developed an overall score representing the patient's vascular atherosclerotic burden (MRI-score). The score's association with components of the MetS was assessed.
Results
The median MRI-score was 1.18 [range: 1.00-2.41] and MetS was present in 58% of the cohort (type 2 diabetics: 73%; type 1 diabetics: 26%). Age (p = 0.0002), HDL-cholesterol (p = 0.016), hypertension (p = 0.0008), nephropathy (p = 0.0093), CHD (p = 0.001) and MetS (p = 0.0011) were significantly associated with the score. Adjusted for age and sex, the score was significantly (p = 0.02) higher in diabetics with MetS (1.450 [1.328-1.572]) compared to those without MetS (1.108 [0.966-1.50]). The number of MetS components was associated with a linear increase in the MRI-score (increase in score: 0.09/MetS component; r2 = 0.24, p = 0.038). Finally, using an established risk algorithm, we found a significant association between MRI-score and 10-year risk for CHD, fatal CHD and stroke.
Conclusion
In this high-risk diabetic population, WB-MRA revealed large heterogeneity in the degree of systemic atherosclerosis. Presence and number of traits of the MetS are associated with the extent of atherosclerotic burden. These results support the perspective that diabetic patients are a heterogeneous population with increased but varying prevalence of atherosclerosis and risk.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-9-44
PMCID: PMC2936364  PMID: 20804545
3.  MMP-1 serum levels predict coronary atherosclerosis in humans 
Background
Myocardial infarction results as a consequence of atherosclerotic plaque rupture, with plaque stability largely depending on the lesion forming extracellular matrix components. Lipid enriched non-calcified lesions are considered more instable and rupture prone than calcified lesions. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are extracellular matrix degrading enzymes with plaque destabilisating characteristics which have been implicated in atherogenesis. We therefore hypothesised MMP-1 and MMP-9 serum levels to be associated with non-calcified lesions as determined by CT-angiography in patients with coronary artery disease.
Methods
260 patients with typical or atypical chest pain underwent dual-source multi-slice CT-angiography (0.6-mm collimation, 330-ms gantry rotation time) to exclude coronary artery stenosis. Atherosclerotic plaques were classified as calcified, mixed or non-calcified.
Results
In multivariable regession analysis, MMP-1 serum levels were associated with total plaque burden (OR: 1.37 (CI: 1.02-1.85); p < 0.05) in a model adjusted for age, sex, BMI, classical cardiovascular risk factors, hsCRP, adiponectin, pericardial fat volume and medication. Specification of plaque morphology revealed significant association of MMP-1 serum levels with non-calcified plaques (OR: 1.16 (CI: 1.0-1.34); p = 0.05) and calcified plaques (OR: 1.22 (CI: 1,03-1.45); p < 0.05) while association with mixed plaques was lost in the fully adjusted model. No associations were found between MMP9 serum levels and total plaque burden or plaque morphology.
Conclusion
MMP-1 serum levels are associated with total plaque burden but do not allow a specification of plaque morphology.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-8-50
PMCID: PMC2754422  PMID: 19751510
4.  Effect of the angiotensin receptor blocker irbesartan on metabolic parameters in clinical practice: the DO-IT prospective observational study 
Aims
A number of intervention studies have shown that therapy with angiotensin receptor blockers, such as irbesartan, can improve metabolic parameters and reduce the incidence of diabetes mellitus. It is unknown whether this observation also holds true in routine clinical settings.
Methods
We evaluated the effect of irbesartan (150 mg or 300 mg/d) together with or without hydrochlorothiazide (12.5 mg/d) in 3259 German patients. A total of 750 primary care physicians evaluated up to 5 subsequent patients with metabolic syndrome (58.9% diabetic), in whom irbesartan therapy was newly initiated (87%) or continued (13%).
Results
Six months of irbesartan therapy decreased systolic blood pressure by 14% (157.4 ± 14.7 vs. 135.0 ± 10.7 mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure by 13% (92.9 ± 9.2 vs. 80.8 ± 6.8 mmHg). This was associated with a decrease in body weight (-2.3%), fasting glucose (-9.5%), HbA1c (-4.6%), LDL-cholesterol (-11%), triglycerides (-16%) and gamma-GT (-12%) and an increase in HDL-cholesterol (+5%). These changes were somewhat more pronounced in male than in female patients and in obese than in lean patients. Changes in glucose concentration and HbA1c were much more prominent in diabetic patients.
Conclusion
Irbesartan therapy improves metabolic parameters in routine clinical settings. Thus, our study confirms previously published results from large intervention trials and extends the findings to routine clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-6-36
PMCID: PMC2211461  PMID: 18042288
5.  Genetic variants of adiponectin receptor 2 are associated with increased adiponectin levels and decreased triglyceride/VLDL levels in patients with metabolic syndrome 
Background
Adiponectin acts as an antidiabetic, antiinflammatory and antiatherogenic adipokine. These effects are assumed to be mediated by the recently discovered adiponectin receptors AdipoR1 and AdipoR2.
Aim
The purpose of this study was to determine whether variations in the AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 genes may contribute to insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and inflammation.
Methods
We sequenced all seven coding exons of both genes in 20 unrelated German subjects with metabolic syndrome and tested genetic variants for association with glucose, lipid and inflammatory parameters.
Results
We identified three AdipoR2 variants (+795G/A, +870C/A and +963C/T) in perfect linkage disequilibrium (r2 = 1) with a minor allele frequency of 0.125. This haplotype was associated with higher plasma adiponectin levels and decreased fasting triglyceride, VLDL-triglyceride and VLDL-cholesterol levels. No association, however, was observed between the AdipoR2 SNP cluster and glucose metabolism.
Conclusion
To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify an association between genetic variants of the adiponectin receptor genes and plasma adiponectin levels. Furthermore, our data suggest that AdipoR2 may play an important role in triglyceride/VLDL metabolism.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-5-11
PMCID: PMC1482678  PMID: 16700915
6.  Differential effects of fenofibrate versus atorvastatin on the concentrations of E-selectin and vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1 in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and mixed hyperlipoproteinemia: a randomized cross-over trial 
Background
Diabetic dyslipoproteinemia is characterized by hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL-cholesterol and often elevated LDL-cholesterol and is a strong risk factor for atherosclerosis. Adhesion molecule levels are elevated both in hyperlipoproteinemia and diabetes mellitus. It is unclear whether fibrate or statin therapy has more beneficial effects on adhesion molecule concentrations.
Methods
Atorvastatin (10 mg/d) was compared to fenofibrate (200 mg/d) each for 6 weeks separated by a 6 week washout period in 11 patients (6 male, 5 female; 61.8 ± 8.2 years; body mass index 29.8 ± 3.1 kg/m2) with type 2 diabetes mellitus (HbA1c 7.3 ± 1.1 %) and mixed hyperlipoproteinemia using a randomized, cross-over design. Fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, lipid parameters, E-selectin, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and fibrinogen concentrations were determined before and after each drug.
Results
Glucose and HbA1c concentrations remained unchanged during the whole study period. LDL cholesterol was reduced during atorvastatin therapy, triglycerides were lowered more effectively with fenofibrate. Comparison of pre- and postreatment concentrations of E-selectin showed a reduction during atorvastatin (-7 %, p = 0.11) and fenofibrate (-10 %, p < 0.05) therapy. Atorvastatin treatment reduced VCAM-1 levels by 4% (p < 0.05), while VCAM-1 concentrations remained unchanged (+1%, ns) during fenofibate therapy. However, direct comparisons of post-treatment levels during both forms of therapy were not of statistical significance. ICAM-1 levels were not influenced by either form of therapy.
Conclusions
In addition to the different beneficial effects on lipid metabolism, both drugs appear to lower adhesion molecule plasma concentrations in a different manner in patients with type 2 diabetes and mixed hyperlipoproteinemia. Our observations should be confirmed in a larger cohort of such patients.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-2-17
PMCID: PMC317344  PMID: 14662011

Results 1-6 (6)