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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31799. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031799. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

Decreased circulating endothelial progenitor cell levels and function in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Author information

1
Division of Cardiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is associated with advanced atherosclerosis and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Increasing evidence suggests that injured endothelial monolayer is regenerated by circulating bone marrow derived-endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), and levels of circulating EPCs reflect vascular repair capacity. However, the relation between NAFLD and EPC remains unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) might have decreased endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) levels and attenuated EPC function.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

A total of 312 consecutive patients undergoing elective coronary angiography because of suspected coronary artery disease were screened and received examinations of abdominal ultrasonography between July 2009 and November 2010. Finally, 34 patients with an ultrasonographic diagnosis of NAFLD, and 68 age- and sex-matched controls without NAFLD were enrolled. Flow cytometry with quantification of EPC markers (defined as CD34(+), CD34(+)KDR(+), and CD34(+)KDR(+)CD133(+)) in peripheral blood samples was used to assess circulating EPC numbers. The adhesive function, and migration, and tube formation capacities of EPCs were also determined in NAFLD patients and controls. Patients with NAFLD had a significantly higher incidence of metabolic syndrome, previous myocardial infarction, hyperuricemia, and higher waist circumference, body mass index, fasting glucose and triglyceride levels. In addition, patients with NAFLD had significantly decreased circulating EPC levels (all P<0.05), attenuated EPC functions, and enhanced systemic inflammation compared to controls. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that circulating EPC level (CD34(+)KDR(+) [cells/10(5) events]) was an independent reverse predictor of NAFLD (Odds ratio: 0.78; 95% confidence interval: 0.69-0.89, P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

NAFLD patients have decreased circulating EPC numbers and functions than those without NAFLD, which may be one of the mechanisms to explain atherosclerotic disease progression and enhanced cardiovascular risk in patients with NAFLD.

PMID:
22359630
PMCID:
PMC3280999
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0031799
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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