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American Diabetes Association, Diabetes, 5(69), p. 1072-1082, 2020

DOI: 10.2337/db19-0862



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A Mendelian Randomization Study Provides Evidence That Adiposity and Dyslipidemia Lead to Lower Urinary Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio, a Marker of Microvascular Function

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This paper was not found in any repository, but could be made available legally by the author.

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Urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) is a marker of diabetic nephropathy and microvascular damage. Metabolic-related traits are observationally associated with ACR, but their causal role is uncertain. Here, we confirmed ACR as a marker of microvascular damage and tested whether metabolic-related traits have causal relationships with ACR. The association between ACR and microvascular function (responses to acetylcholine [ACH] and sodium nitroprusside) was tested in the SUMMIT study. Two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) was used to infer the causal effects of 11 metabolic risk factors, including glycemic, lipid, and adiposity traits, on ACR. MR was performed in up to 440,000 UK Biobank and 54,451 CKDGen participants. ACR was robustly associated with microvascular function measures in SUMMIT. Using MR, we inferred that higher triglyceride (TG) and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) levels caused elevated ACR. A 1 SD higher TG and LDL-C level caused a 0.062 (95% CI 0.040, 0.083) and a 0.026 (95% CI 0.008, 0.044) SD higher ACR, respectively. There was evidence that higher body fat and visceral body fat distribution caused elevated ACR, while a metabolically “favorable adiposity” phenotype lowered ACR. ACR is a valid marker for microvascular function. MR suggested that seven traits have causal effects on ACR, highlighting the role of adiposity-related traits in causing lower microvascular function.