Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major challenge in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) provides a detailed anatomic map of the coronary circulation. Proteomics are increasingly used to improve diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms. We hypothesized that the protein panel is differentially associated with T2D and CAD.
In CAPIRE (Coronary Atherosclerosis in Outlier Subjects: Protective and Novel Individual Risk Factors Evaluation—a cohort of 528 individuals with no previous cardiovascular event undergoing CCTA), participants were grouped into CAD– (clean coronaries) and CAD+ (diffuse lumen narrowing or plaques). Plasma proteins were screened by aptamer analysis. Two-way partial least squares was used to simultaneously rank proteins by diabetes status and CAD.
Though CAD+ was more prevalent among participants with T2D (HbA1c 6.7 ± 1.1%) than those without diabetes (56 vs. 30%, P < 0.0001), CCTA-based atherosclerosis burden did not differ. Of the 20 top-ranking proteins, 15 were associated with both T2D and CAD, and 3 (osteomodulin, cartilage intermediate-layer protein 15, and HTRA1) were selectively associated with T2D only and 2 (epidermal growth factor receptor and contactin-1) with CAD only. Elevated renin and GDF15, and lower adiponectin, were independently associated with both T2D and CAD. In multivariate analysis adjusting for the Framingham risk panel, patients with T2D were "protected" from CAD if female (P = 0.007), younger (P = 0.021), and with lower renin levels (P = 0.02).
We concluded that 1) CAD severity and quality do not differ between participants with T2D and without diabetes; 2) renin, GDF15, and adiponectin are shared markers by T2D and CAD; 3) several proteins are specifically associated with T2D or CAD; and 4) in T2D, lower renin levels may protect against CAD.