Haptoglobin Phenotype Modifies the Influence of Intensive Glycemic Control on Cardiovascular Outcomes


Whereas there exists a direct relationship between glycated hemoglobin and cardiovascular disease (CVD), clinical trials targeting glycated hemoglobin to near-normal levels using intensive therapy have failed to prevent CVD and have even increased mortality, making clinical decision making difficult. A common polymorphism at the haptoglobin (Hp) genetic locus is associated with CVD, especially coronary heart disease, in the setting of hyperglycemia.


This study sought to determine whether the treatment difference of intensive versus standard glucose-lowering therapy on risk of CVD events in the ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) study depended on Hp phenotype.


Hp phenotype was measured within 5,806 non-Hispanic white ACCORD participants using a validated assay. Adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) estimated from stratified Cox regression models were used to quantify the association between intensive therapy and incident CVD for the 2 different Hp phenotype groups (Hp2-2, Hp1 carriers).


Compared with standard therapy, intensive therapy was associated with a lower risk of incident coronary heart disease among participants with the Hp2-2 phenotype (n = 2,133; aHR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.55 to 0.91; p = 0.006), but not among the other 2 phenotypes (Hp1 allele carriers) (n = 3,673; aHR: 0.95; 95% CI: 0.79 to 1.13; p = 0.550). The same pattern was observed for CVD. Conversely, intensive therapy was associated with an increased risk of fatal CVD (aHR: 1.50; 95% CI: 1.00 to 2.25; p = 0.049) and total mortality (aHR: 1.40; 95% CI: 1.08 to 1.81; p = 0.011) among the Hp1 carriers, whereas this risk was not increased in the Hp2-2 phenotype (fatal CVD: aHR: 1.02; 95% CI: 0.59 to 1.77; p = 0.931; total mortality: aHR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.68 to 1.41; p = 0.908).


Intensive glucose-lowering therapy was effective at preventing incident coronary heart disease and CVD events in ACCORD study participants with the Hp2-2 phenotype but not in Hp1 carriers, who had increased mortality risk from intensive therapy.

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