Plasma total bilirubin levels predict amputation events in type 2 diabetes mellitus: the Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) study.
ABSTRACT AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Bilirubin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Previous studies demonstrated that higher bilirubin levels were associated with reduced prevalence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). However, the relationship between bilirubin and lower-limb amputation, a consequence of PAD, is currently unknown. We hypothesised that, in patients with type 2 diabetes, bilirubin concentrations may inversely associate with lower-limb amputation. METHODS: The relationship between baseline plasma total bilirubin levels and amputation events was analysed in 9,795 type 2 diabetic patients from the Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) study. The analysis plan was pre-specified. Lower-limb amputation was adjudicated blinded to treatment allocation. Relevant clinical and biochemical data were available for analyses. Amputation was a pre-specified tertiary endpoint. RESULTS: Bilirubin concentrations were significantly inversely associated with lower-limb amputation, with a greater than threefold risk gradient across levels. Individuals with lower bilirubin concentrations had a higher risk for first amputation (HR 1.38 per 5 μmol/l decrease in bilirubin concentration, 95% CI 1.07, 1.79, p = 0.013). The same association persisted after adjustment for baseline variables, including age, height, smoking status, γ-glutamyltransferase level, HbA(1c), trial treatment allocation (placebo vs fenofibrate), as well as previous PAD, non-PAD cardiovascular disease, amputation or diabetic skin ulcer, neuropathy, nephropathy and diabetic retinopathy (HR 1.38 per 5 μmol/l decrease in bilirubin concentration, 95% CI 1.05, 1.81, p = 0.019). CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Our results identify a significant inverse relationship between bilirubin levels and total lower-limb amputation, driven by major amputation. Our data raise the hypothesis that bilirubin may protect against amputation in type 2 diabetes.
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ABSTRACT: A study by Chan et al in this issue of Diabetologia (DOI: 10.1007/s00125-012-2818-4 ) reports that low plasma bilirubin levels are associated with an increased risk of amputation in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus participating in the Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) study. These findings raise the interesting and clinically relevant hypothesis that bilirubin protects against risk of amputation in patients with type 2 diabetes. This commentary considers some of the limitations associated with research aiming to define any link between circulating bilirubin levels and vascular disease. Numerous confounding factors (several of which may be present in patients with type 2 diabetes) may explain why the literature regarding this potentially protective role of bilirubin remains controversial.Diabetologia 01/2013; 56(4). DOI:10.1007/s00125-013-2840-1 · 6.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: A negative relationship between total bilirubin concentration (TBili) and CVD risk has been documented in a series of epidemiological studies. In addition, TBili is thought to be under strong genetic regulation via the UGT1A gene family, suggesting it may be a heritable CVD risk factor. However, few studies directly relate TBili-associated UGT1A variants to CVD severity or outcome. This study replicated the genetic association for TBili in the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS), and examined the relationships of TBili-associated SNPs with measures of subclinical CVD and mortality. METHODS: This investigation included 1220 self-described European American (EA) individuals from the DHS, a family-based study examining risk for macrovascular complications in type 2 diabetes (T2D). Genetic associations with TBili were examined using the Affymetrix Genome-wide Human SNP Array 5.0 and the Illumina Infinium Human Exome beadchip v1.0. Subsequent analyses assessed the relationships of the top TBili-associated SNPs with measures of vascular calcified plaque and mortality. RESULTS: A genome-wide association study detected 18 SNPs within the UGT1A gene family associated with TBili at p < 5 × 10(-8). The top hit was rs887829 (p = 8.67 × 10(-20)). There was no compelling evidence of association between the top TBili-associated SNPs and vascular calcified plaque (p = 0.05-0.88). There was, however, evidence of association with all-cause mortality (p = 0.0004-0.06), the top hit being rs2741034. CONCLUSION: These findings support a potential role for UGT1A genetic variants in risk for mortality in T2D. Further quantification of the extent of CVD risk conferred by UGT1A gene family variants in a high risk cohort with T2D is still required.Atherosclerosis 04/2013; 229(1). DOI:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.04.008 · 3.97 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Unconjugated bilirubin functions intracellularly as a potent inhibitor of NADPH oxidase complexes, and albumin-bound bilirubin contributes significantly to the oxidant scavenging activity of plasma. So it is not surprising that serum levels of bilirubin have been found to correlate inversely with risk for vascular diseases and a host of other disorders. Nonetheless, recent Mendelian randomization analyses reveal that individuals who carry low expression alleles of the hepatic bilirubin conjugating enzyme UGT1A1, and hence have somewhat elevated levels of plasma bilirubin throughout life, are not at decreased risk for vascular disorders. This likely reflects the fact that, in most people, plasma levels of unconjugated, unbound bilirubin - the fraction of bilirubin capable of fluxing back into cells - are so low (near 1nM) that they can exert only a trivial antioxidant influence on cells. In light of these findings, it is reasonable to propose that the inverse correlation of plasma bilirubin and disease risks noted in many studies often reflect the fact that elevated plasma bilirubin can serve as a marker for an increased propensity to generate bilirubin within cells. Consistent with this view, high expression alleles of the major enzymatic source of bilirubin, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), do associate with decreased vascular risk in the majority of studies that have addressed this issue, and increased plasma bilirubin has been reported in carriers of these alleles. Hence, the consistent reduction in vascular risk noted in people with Gilbert syndrome (traditionally defined as having serum bilirubin in excess of 20μM) is likely attributable to an increased rate of bilirubin generation within tissues, rather than to the decreased hepatic UGT1A1 activity that characterizes this syndrome. However, there is good reason to suspect that, at some sufficiently high plasma bilirubin level - as in individuals with very intense Gilbert syndrome or in Gunn rats lacking UGT1A1 activity - the plasma bilirubin pool does indeed provide some antioxidant protection to cells. Strategies for boosting bilirubin production within cells via HO-1 induction, or for mimicking bilirubin's antioxidant activity with cyanobacterial phycobilins, may have important potential for health promotion.Medical Hypotheses 08/2013; 81(4). DOI:10.1016/j.mehy.2013.07.013 · 1.07 Impact Factor