Aims: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death among patients with diabetes. Early identification of subclinical atherosclerosis is essential for the management of diabetic patients. This study aimed to characterize serum metabolic signatures associated with carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT), a proxy of subclinical atherosclerosis, in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Methods: After 1:1 matching by sex, age, body mass index, glycated haemoglobin A1c, and other clinical parameters, a total of 462 T2DM patients were enrolled, consisting of 231 patients with C-IMT of ≥ 1 mm (abnormal C-IMT) and 231 patients with C-IMT of < 1 mm (normal C-IMT). C-IMT was assessed using ultrasonography. The serum metabolic profiling of fasting blood samples was performed using liquid chromatography-tandem triple quadrupole mass spectrometer coupled with the multivariate and univariate statistical analysis. Results: Patients with abnormal C-IMT had significantly higher deoxycholic acid (DCA) and taurodeoxycholic acid (TDCA) levels, and lower levels of taurocholic acid (TCA) than those with normal C-IMT. Conditional logistic regression analysis revealed that per 1-standard deviation increase of DCA, TDCA and TCA were significantly associated with 64.7% (95% CI: 1.234–2.196) and 38.5% (95% CI: 1.124–1.706) higher, and 26.8% (95% CI: 0.597–0.897) lower risk of abnormal C-IMT, after adjustment of confounders. The addition of DCA, TCA, or DCA × TDCA/TCA ratio significantly improved the discrimination of abnormal C-IMT over traditional risk factors. Conclusions: Serum bile acids may be potential biomarkers for subclinical atherosclerosis in T2DM patients, which needs further confirmation.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Bile acids
- Carotid intima-media thickness
- Subclinical atherosclerosis
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus