Osteopontin is BMI-independently Related to Early Endothelial Dysfunction in Children

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Osteopontin (OPN) has been proposed to predict adverse cardiac events in patients with adult type 2 diabetes.


We investigated potential associations of circulating OPN and OPN expression in adipose tissue (AT) with obesity and early metabolic and cardiovascular dysfunction in children. Furthermore, we assessed the functional relevance of OPN on primary human endothelial cells.


Serum OPN was determined in healthy lean (n = 65) and obese (n = 100) children by ELISA. Expression levels were assessed in sc AT samples from healthy lean (n = 33) and overweight and obese (n = 31) children by qRT-PCR. Direct effects of recombinant (rh) OPN on adhesion molecule and ENOS expression were assessed in human coronary arterial endothelial cells.


OPN serum concentrations decreased with pubertal development in lean children. The degree of obesity was negatively associated with OPN serum levels. Multiple regression analysis revealed that body mass index (BMI) standard deviation score (SDS), next to pubertal status, was the strongest independent predictor for OPN serum concentrations. Metabolically, the homeostasis model assessment index and circulating plasma insulin were negatively correlated with OPN serum levels secondary to obesity. In contrast, independent from BMI, OPN was positively related to VCAM-1 levels, intima media thickening, and negatively associated with endothelial function. Functionally, full-length rhOPN did not affect adhesion molecule and ENOS mRNA expression in primary human coronary arterial endothelial cells. In addition, OPN expression levels in AT positively correlated with BMI SDS, AT inflammation, and markers of metabolic dysfunction but were not related to OPN serum levels.


Our findings suggest that OPN levels are BMI-independently related to markers of early endothelial dysfunction in children.

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