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Clin Chem. 2012 May;58(5):887-95. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2011.177725. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Fetuin-A is inversely associated with coronary artery calcification in community-living persons: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

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Nephrology Section, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA 92161, USA.



Fetuin-A is a hepatic secretory protein that inhibits arterial calcification in vitro. The association of fetuin-A with coronary arterial calcification (CAC) in the general population is uncertain.


Among 2457 community-living individuals without cardiovascular disease (CVD), we measured serum fetuin-A concentrations by ELISA and evaluated the cross-sectional association of fetuin-A with CAC prevalence (any vs none) and severity; on follow-up 3.2 years (median) later, we evaluated the association of fetuin-A with CAC incidence and progression.


The mean age was 62 (SD 10) years, and the mean fetuin-A concentration was 0.48 (0.10) g/L. At baseline, 1200 individuals (49%) had CAC, and 272 individuals developed CAC during follow-up. At baseline, there was a threshold effect at the lowest fetuin-A quartile with CAC prevalence. In models adjusted for demographics, traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and kidney function, the lowest fetuin-A quartile had 7% (95% CI 1%-13%; P = 0.04) greater CAC prevalence compared with quartiles 2-4. Similar associations were observed with CAC severity at baseline, but the association was more linear. Each SD (0.10 g/L) lower fetuin-A was associated with a 12% (95% CI 3%-21%; P = 0.01) greater CAC severity in adjusted models. There was no significant association of fetuin-A with CAC incidence or progression.


Fetuin-A is inversely associated with CAC severity among community-living individuals without CVD. Whether fetuin-A concentrations are associated with incident CVD event in the general population requires future study.

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