Plasma fetuin-A/α2-HS-glycoprotein correlates negatively with inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and activation biomarkers in individuals with type-2 diabetes

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Background: Fetuin-A/AHSH is a novel hepatokine that acts as a vascular calcification inhibitor and as an endogenous TLR-4 ligand. Fetuin-A may act as a positive or negative acute phase protein (APP) in disease conditions. The relationship between circulatory fetuin-A and inflammatory biomarkers in type-2 diabetes (T2D) remains controversial. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the plasma fetuin-A levels in 53 T2D (BMI = 29.7 ± 4.5 kg/m2) and 72 non-diabetic individuals (BMI = 28.2 ± 5.8 kg/m2) using premixed 38-plex MAP human cytokine/chemokine magnetic bead immunoassays and the data (mean ± SEM) were statistically analyzed to determine Pearson's correlation (r) between fetuin-A and detected analytes; P-values ≤0.05 were considered significant. Results: The data show that plasma fetuin-A levels were comparable in both groups (P = 0.27) and in T2D individuals, fetuin-A associated negatively (P ≤ 0.05) with a large number of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines and activation biomarkers including TNF-α, IFN-α2, IFN-γ, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-3, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, IL-12p40/p70, IL-15, CCL-2, CCL-4, CCL-11, CCL-22, CXCL-8, CX3CL-1, EFF-2, EGF, G-CSF, GM-CSF, GRO, sCD40L, and VEGF. In non-diabetics, fetuin-A also correlated positively with certain TH2 cytokines (IL-5, IL-13) and chemokines (CCL-3, CCL-5, CCL-7). Notably, in vitro fetuin-A production was significantly suppressed in HepG2 cells treated with TNF-α, IL-1β, and IFN-γ which supported the clinical findings of a negative association between fetuin A and inflammatory mediators. Conclusions: The negative association between circulatory fetuin-A and systemic inflammatory mediators in T2D patients suggests that plasma fetuin-A may have predictive significance as a negative APP in metabolic disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalBMC Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2016



  • Chemokines
  • Fetuin-A
  • Metabolic inflammation
  • Proinflammatory cytokines
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • α2-HS-glycoprotein

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