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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 137-142

Apolipoprotein B level and diabetic microvascular complications ( is there a correlation?)

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
2 National Institute of Diabetes, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
3 Department of Ophthalmology, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
4 Department of Clinical Pathology, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Mary N. Rizk
Department of Internal Medicine, Cairo University, 26 st.18 Mokattam, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.7123/01.EJIM.0000432236.92356.43

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Dyslipidemia has long been implicated in diabetic complications. However, many subgroups have been considered to be responsible. Furthermore, a cause and effect relationship has long been debated. Apolipoprotein B (Apo B) is an exact measure of the total number of very low-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein particles; thus, total plasma Apo B is a reliable surrogate for actual low-density lipoprotein particle number irrespective of its size. Hence, it is a better indicator of the correlation between dyslipidemia and diabetic microvascular complications.

Aim of the work

Our aim is to study the correlation between Apo B and diabetic microvascular complications, namely, nephropathy and retinopathy.

Materials and methods

A cross sectional study was carried out of 56 diabetic patients, 36 men and 20 women, both type 1 and 2, who were chosen randomly from the outpatient Endocrinology Clinic in Cairo University. Serum creatinine, estimated glomerular filtration rate, urine albumin/creatinine ratio (A/C ratio), and Apo B levels were determined. Groups were divided according to the A/C ratio as follows: no proteinuria (A/C ratio<30 mg/g), incipient proteinuria (30–300 mg/g), and overt proteinuria (>300 mg/g). We performed fundus examination as well as fluorescein angiography in patients with retinopathy. Patients on dialysis, HBA1c more than 7.5, on lipid-lowering treatment, or with familial hyperlipidemia were excluded. Calculations were carried out using the SPSS v.10 statistical software.


We found a significant positive correlation between Apo B levels and microvascular complications. Apo B was higher with overt nephropathy than incipient nephropathy (1.75±0.38), and higher in patients with incipient nephropathy (1.4±0.48) than in patients without nephropathy (1.02±0.34, P<0.01).

A highly significant correlation was detected between the grades of retinopathy and the Apo B level. Finally, a significant positive correlation was detected between the presence of maculopathy and Apo B. Apo B levels were significantly higher in the presence of both nephropathy and retinopathy (1.26±0.389) than in the absence of both complications (0.77±0.361, P<0.05).


Apo B levels are strongly correlated to diabetic microvascular complications. The higher the degree of nephropathy, the higher the Apo B level. The presence of more than one microvascular complication correlates positively with high levels of Apo B. This suggests the possible use of Apo B as a sensitive biomarker of the presence of early diabetic microvascular complications.

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