Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), also known as CCN2, is a potent chemotactic and extracellular matrix-inducing matricellular protein that has been implicated in progression of inflammatory and fibroproliferative disorders. An emerging role of CTGF/CCN2 is that of a prosclerotic factor implicated in the development of cardiac disease. Our objective was to determine the role of CTGF/CCN2 as a predictor of cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetes in the Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial (VADT) cohort.
Levels of CTGF/CCN2 were measured in 952 VADT patients a median of 1.9 years after entry into the study. Participants were followed for an average of 3.3 years for vascular outcomes. CTGF/CCN2 categories were defined as below the detectable limit (referent, 54.5%), lower half of detectable values (22.8%), and upper half of detectable values (22.7%). Hazard ratios (HRs) for cardiovascular end points in relation to CTGF/CCN2 categories were calculated by Cox proportional hazards models.
During follow-up, 4.8% had a myocardial infarction (MI), 6.9% had an MI or cardiovascular death, and 6.9% died. After adjustments by conventional risk factors, individuals in the highest category of CTGF/CCN2 were at higher risk of MI (HR 2.43 [95% CI 1.15, 5.14]), MI or cardiovascular death (HR 2.71 [95% CI 1.44, 5.08]), and all-cause mortality (HR 2.70 [95% CI 1.43, 5.08]) relative to individuals with CTGF below the detectable limit.
Our study indicates that high levels of CTGF/CCN2 predict future MI and cardiovascular death in patients with type 2 diabetes.