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Diabetologia. 2014 Jun;57(6):1204-8. doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3208-x. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Circulating betatrophin correlates with atherogenic lipid profiles but not with glucose and insulin levels in insulin-resistant individuals.

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Clinical Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.



The newly identified liver- and fat-derived hormone, betatrophin, has recently been linked to insulin resistance and pancreatic beta cell growth in mice. These preclinical findings have suggested betatrophin as a potential candidate for novel glucose-lowering treatment concepts involving beta cell regeneration. However, the role of betatrophin in human insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes is currently unknown. Hence, the aim of this study was to investigate circulating betatrophin concentrations in two distinct cohorts with insulin resistance.


Betatrophin concentrations were analysed in (1) age- and sex-matched lean (n = 20) and morbidly obese individuals (n = 19), and (2) age-, sex- and BMI-matched non-diabetic (n = 19) and type 2 diabetic individuals (n = 18).


Betatrophin concentrations did not differ between lean and morbidly obese or between non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic participants. No association was found with variables of beta cell function and glucose homeostasis. However, betatrophin did correlate significantly with plasma atherogenic lipids including total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein B in morbidly obese and type 2 diabetic patients but not in controls. Insulin-resistant individuals with hypercholesterolaemia (≥5.2 mmol/l) had significantly higher betatrophin concentrations than those with normal cholesterol (<5.2 mmol/l).


Betatrophin is a recently identified hormone, the circulating concentrations of which are unaltered in human insulin resistance but correlate significantly with atherogenic lipid profiles in high-risk cohorts with morbid obesity or type 2 diabetes. Betatrophin could therefore be a novel pathomechanistic player in dysfunctional lipid metabolism associated with high cardiovascular risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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