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Circulation. 2008 Dec 9;118(24):2555-62. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.814418. Epub 2008 Nov 24.

Plasma fetuin-a levels and the risk of myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke.

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Department of Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition, Nuthetal, Germany.



Fetuin-A, a protein almost exclusively secreted by the liver, induces insulin resistance and subclinical inflammation in rodents. Circulating fetuin-A levels are elevated in humans with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, conditions that are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.


We investigated the association between fetuin-A levels and the risk of future myocardial infarction (MI) and ischemic stroke (IS) in a case-cohort study based on the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam Study comprising 27 548 middle-aged subjects of the general population. Fetuin-A levels were measured in plasma of 227 individuals who developed MI, in 168 who developed IS, and in 2198 individuals who remained free of cardiovascular events during a mean follow-up of 8.2+/-2.2 years. Individuals in the highest compared with the lowest quintile of plasma fetuin-A had significantly increased risks of MI (relative risk, 3.80; 95% confidence interval, 2.37 to 6.10; P for trend <0.0001) and IS (relative risk, 3.93; 95% confidence interval, 2.17 to 7.12; P for trend <0.0001) after adjustment for sex and age. Additional adjustment for smoking status, body mass index, waist circumference, alcohol consumption, educational attainment, physical activity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and C-reactive protein only moderately attenuated these risks (MI: relative risk, 3.25; 95% confidence interval, 2.01 to 5.28; P for trend <0.0001; IS: relative risk, 3.78; 95% confidence interval, 2.06 to 6.94; P for trend <0.0001).


Our data provide evidence for a link between high plasma fetuin-A levels and an increased risk of MI and IS. Therefore, more research is warranted to determine the role of fetuin-A in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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