Osteocalcin as a potential risk biomarker for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases

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Clear evidence supports a role for circulating and locally-produced osteocalcin (OC) in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular (CV) lesions and CV risk, also in combination with metabolic changes, including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Reduced plasma OC levels are associated with greater incidence of pathological CV changes, like arterial and valvular calcification, coronary and carotid atherosclerosis and increased carotid intima-media thickness. The actual relationship between OC levels and incidence of major CV events is, however, still unclear. Moreover, reduced circulating OC levels have been mostly associated with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome or T2DM, indicating relevant OC actions on pancreatic β-cells and insulin secretion and activity. Based on these observations, this review article will attempt to summarize the current evidence on the potential usefulness of circulating OC as a biomarker for CV and metabolic risk, also evaluating the currently open issues in this area of research.

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