Circulating cellular adhesion molecules and risk of diabetes: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

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To test the hypothesis that soluble cellular adhesion molecules would be positively and independently associated with risk of diabetes.


Soluble levels of six cellular adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, E-selectin, VCAM-1, E-cadherin, L-selectin and P-selectin) were measured in participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a prospective cohort study. Participants were then followed for up to 10 years to ascertain incident diabetes.


Sample sizes ranged from 826 to 2185. After adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, BMI and fasting glucose or HbA1c, four cellular adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, E-selectin, VCAM-1 and E-cadherin) were positively associated with incident diabetes and there was a statistically significant trend across quartiles. Comparing the incidence of diabetes in the highest and lowest quartiles of each cellular adhesion molecule, the magnitude of association was largest for E-selectin (hazard ratio 2.49; 95% CI 1.26–4.93) and ICAM-1 (hazard ratio 1.76; 95% CI 1.22–2.55) in fully adjusted models. Tests of effect modification by racial/ethnic group and sex were not statistically significant for any of the cellular adhesion molecules (P > 0.05).


The finding of significant associations between multiple cellular adhesion molecules and incident diabetes may lend further support to the hypothesis that microvascular endothelial dysfunction contributes to risk of diabetes.

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