Associations of serum fetuin-A levels with insulin resistance and vascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes

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We examined the relationship between serum fetuin-A, insulin resistance (IR), metabolic syndrome (MS) and vascular complications including cardiac autonomic neuropathy (CAN) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).


A total of 172 T2DM patients were recruited and evaluated for diabetic microangiopathies (nephropathy, retinopathy and peripheral neuropathy) including CAN. Serum fetuin-A levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the IR was assessed by the index of homeostasis model [homeostasis model assessment–insulin resistance (HOMA-IR)]. Atherosclerotic burden was assessed by ankle-brachial index (ABI) and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV).


Serum fetuin-A levels showed significant positive correlations with HOMA-IR (r = 0.196, p = 0.022), and the mean levels of HOMA-IR were significantly increased progressively across fetuin-A tertiles (p for trend = 0.044). Serum fetuin-A showed significant positive correlations with baPWV, systolic blood pressure (BP), total cholesterol, triglycerides, serum fasting c-peptide and negative correlations with ABI. Serum fetuin-A levels were also negatively correlated with serum adiponectin and positively correlated with serum tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). The mean levels of serum fetuin-A were not significantly different according to the presence of each microangiopathies including CAN. Also, the mean levels of serum fetuin-A were not different between patients with MS and without MS.


This present study showed that levels of serum fetuin-A are significantly associated with IR and arterial stiffness assessed by baPWV, while there are no associations with each microangiopathies in patients with T2DM.

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