BACKGROUND: Obesity is strongly associated with the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the heterogenous nature of obesity in CVD-risk is still poorly understood. We aimed to explore novel CVD biomarkers and their possible association with presumed unhealthy obesity, defined as hospitalized subjects with obesity (HO).
METHODS: Ninety-two proteins associated with CVD were analyzed in 517 (mean age 67 ± 6 years; 33.7% women) individuals with obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) from the Malmö Preventive Project cohort, using a proximity extension array technique from the Olink CVD III panel. Individuals with at least one recorded hospitalization for somatic disease prior to study baseline were defined as HO phenotypes. Associations between proteins and HO (n = 407) versus non-hospitalized subjects with obesity (NHO, n = 110), were analyzed using multivariable binary logistic regression, adjusted for traditional risk factors.
RESULTS: Of 92 analyzed unadjusted associations between biomarkers and HO, increased levels of two proteins were significant at a false discovery rate < 0.05: Galectin-4 (Gal-4) and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 1 (IGFBP-1). When these two proteins were included in logistic regression analyses adjusted for age and sex, Gal-4 remained significant. Gal-4 was independently associated with the HO phenotype in multivariable logistic regression analysis (OR 1.72; CI95% 1.16-2.54). Post-hoc analysis revealed that this association was only present in the subpopulation with diabetes (OR 2.26; CI95% 1.25-4.07). However, an interaction analysis was performed, showing no significant interaction between Gal-4 and prevalent diabetes (p = 0.16).
CONCLUSIONS: In middle-aged and older individuals with obesity, increased Gal-4 levels were associated with a higher probability of HO. This association was only significant in subjects with diabetes only, further implying a role for Gal-4 in diabetes and its complications.
- Cardiovascular disease