Inverse association between serum total bilirubin levels and diabetic peripheral neuropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes
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Several studies have suggested that bilirubin, a potent innate antioxidant, plays a protective role against cardiovascular and microvascular disease. This study investigated the association between serum concentrations of total bilirubin (TB) and the presence of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in Korean diabetic patients. This cross-sectional study involved 1207 patients aged more than 30 years with type 2 diabetes. DPN was assessed according to clinical symptoms and physical examinations using Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument examination score, 10-g monofilament sensation, and current perception threshold. The subjects were stratified into gender-specific tertiles based on TB values, and the relationship between the TB values and DPN was analyzed. Compared with patients within the lowest TB tertile, those with higher TB levels consisted of patients with shorter duration of diabetes, lower HbA1c, better renal function, and less autonomic neuropathy, retinopathy, and albuminuria. Serum TB levels were inversely associated with DPN. In multivariate analysis for the development of DPN after adjusting for potential confounding factors including retinopathy, albuminuria, and autonomic neuropathy, the TB levels were inversely associated with the presence of DPN, both as a continuous variable [odds ratio (OR) per log standard deviation (SD) 0.79; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.65–0.97; P = 0.022] and when categorized in tertiles (the highest vs. the lowest tertile; OR 0.63; 95 % CI 0.40–0.99; P = 0.046). Low serum bilirubin levels are significantly associated with DPN, independently of classic risk factors and other microvascular complications. Further investigation is necessary to determine whether serum bilirubin has a prognostic significance on DPN.
KeywordsBilirubin Diabetic peripheral neuropathy Type 2 diabetes
This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korea government (MSIP, 2014R1A1A1006144) and the Grant (N.H.K., 2009) from the Korean Diabetes Association, and the Grant from the Catholic Medical Center Research Foundation made in the program year of 2013.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest associated with this manuscript.
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