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Keywords:

  • adiponectin;
  • death;
  • diabetes;
  • mortality;
  • type 1 diabetes

Abstract.  Forsblom C, Thomas MC, Moran J, Saraheimo M, Thorn L, Wadén J, Gordin D, Frystyk J, Flyvbjerg A, Groop P-H, on behalf of the FinnDiane Study Group (Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics, Helsinki; Department of Medicine Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland; The Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Vic.; The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville, SA, Australia; and Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus C., Denmark). Serum adiponectin concentration is a positive predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in type 1 diabetes. J Intern Med 2011; 270: 346–355.

Background.  Adiponectin is widely regarded as an anti-atherogenic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule. However, adiponectin concentration is paradoxically increased in individuals with type 1 diabetes, in whom it is positively associated with adverse clinical outcomes.

Objective.  To explore the association between serum adiponectin concentration and mortality outcomes in adults with type 1 diabetes.

Design.  Multicentre prospective cohort study.

Setting.  Primary and tertiary care.

Subjects.  Finnish adults with type 1 diabetes (n = 2034).

Main outcome measures.  All-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Independent predictors of mortality were determined using the Cox and the Fine and Gray competing risks proportional hazards models.

Results.  During a median of 11 years of follow-up, there were 173 deaths (8.5%, 1.0 per hundred person-years). Adiponectin was linearly associated with all-cause mortality [Cox model: hazard ratio (HR) 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–1.03, P < 0.001] and cardiovascular mortality (Fine and Gray model: HR 1.02, 95% CI 1.00–1.04, P = 0.035); patients with the highest adiponectin concentrations had the shortest survival. The mortality risk associated with adiponectin was independent of glycaemic and lipid control, pre-existing cardiovascular disease, markers of inflammation and the presence and severity of kidney disease.

Conclusions.  Although adiponectin is generally considered to be a protective molecule, increased concentrations of adiponectin in type 1 diabetes are independently associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Moreover, the fact that this association was observed for the first time in patients with normal urinary albumin levels, who have few comorbidities, suggests that adiponectin is specifically linked with vascular damage in type 1 diabetes.