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Plasma concentrations of extracellular matrix protein fibulin-1 are related to cardiovascular risk markers in chronic kidney disease and diabetes

Alexandra Scholze1*, Else-Marie Bladbjerg2, Johannes J Sidelmann2, Axel CP Diederichsen3, Hans Mickley3, Mads Nybo5, W Scott Argraves4, Peter Marckmann1 and Lars M Rasmussen5

Author Affiliations

1 Clinical Research Unit, Department of Nephrology, Odense University Hospital, Kloevervaenget 6, Odense, 5000, Denmark

2 Unit for Thrombosis Research, Institute of Public Health, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Hospital of Southwest Denmark, University of Southern Denmark, Esbjerg, Denmark

3 Department of Cardiology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark

4 Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA

5 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2013, 12:6  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-12-6

Published: 7 January 2013



Fibulin-1 is one of a few extracellular matrix proteins present in blood in high concentrations. We aimed to define the relationship between plasma fibulin-1 levels and risk markers of cardiovascular disease.


Plasma fibulin-1 was determined in subjects with chronic kidney disease (n = 32; median age 62.5, inter-quartile range 51 – 73 years) and 60 age-matched control subjects. Among kidney disease patients serological biomarkers related to cardiovascular disease (fibrinogen, interleukin 6, C-reactive protein) were measured. Arterial applanation tonometry was used to determine central hemodynamic and arterial stiffness indices.


We observed a positive correlation of fibulin-1 levels with age (r = 0.38; p = 0.033), glycated hemoglobin (r = 0.80; p = 0.003), creatinine (r = 0.35; p = 0.045), and fibrinogen (r = 0.39; p = 0.027). Glomerular filtration rate and fibulin-1 were inversely correlated (r = −0.57; p = 0.022). There was a positive correlation between fibulin-1 and central pulse pressure (r = 0.44; p = 0.011) and central augmentation pressure (r = 0.55; p = 0.001). In a multivariable regression model, diabetes, creatinine, fibrinogen and central augmentation pressure were independent predictors of plasma fibulin-1.


Increased plasma fibulin-1 levels were associated with diabetes and impaired kidney function. Furthermore, fibulin-1 levels were associated with hemodynamic cardiovascular risk markers. Fibulin-1 is a candidate in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease observed in chronic kidney disease and diabetes.

Fibulin-1; Arterial stiffness; Cardiovascular disease; Kidney disease; Diabetes