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BACKGROUND - Bone mineral density (BMD) and atherosclerotic arterial calcified plaque (CP) demonstrate inverse relationships through unknown mechanisms. Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) is an endogenous inhibitor of bone formation, and serum DKK1 has been associated with impaired osteoblast activation and susceptibility to bone loss. Plasma DKK1, BMD in the spine, and CP in three arterial beds were assessed in African-Americans (AAs) to determine relationships of serum DKK1 with atherosclerotic vascular calcification.
METHODS - Plasma DKK1, computed tomography-derived trabecular volumetric BMD (vBMD) in thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, and coronary artery, carotid artery, and aortoiliac CP were measured in 450 unrelated AAs with type 2 diabetes. Generalized linear models were fitted to test for associations between DKK1, vBMD, and CP.
RESULTS - Participants were 56% female with mean/SD/median age of 55.4/9.5/55.0 yr, diabetes duration of 10.3/8.2/8.0 yr, plasma DKK1 of 481.6/271.8/417 pg/ml, coronary artery CP mass score of 284/648/13, carotid artery CP mass score of 46/132/0, and aortoiliac CP mass score of 1613/2910/282. Adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, mean arterial blood pressure, smoking, hemoglobin A(1c), and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, DKK1 was inversely associated with coronary artery and aortoiliac CP [parameter estimates -0.0011 (P = 0.0137) and -0.0010 (P = 0.0214), respectively], with a trend for carotid artery CP (P = 0.1404). No associations were observed between DKK1 and vBMD in the thoracic or lumbar vertebrae.
CONCLUSIONS - Plasma DKK1 levels were inversely associated with coronary artery and aortoiliac CP, but not vBMD, in this cross-sectional study of AAs with type 2 diabetes. DKK1 may play a role in vascular mineral metabolism in this clinical setting.