In cells and tissues resistin affects IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12 and TNF-α expression, thus suggesting the existence of a multi-cytokine "resistin pathway". We investigated whether such pathway does exist in humans and, if so, if it is associated with cardiovascular risk factors and with major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). Serum cytokines were measured in 280 healthy subjects from the Gargano Study 2 (GS2) whose BMI, waist circumference, HOMA IR, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure data were available and in 353 patients with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease from the Gargano Heart Study (GHS)-prospective design (follow-up 5.4 ± 2.5 years; 71 MACE). In GS2, cytokines mRNA levels in white blood cells were also measured. In GS2, resistin mRNA was correlated with all cytokines expression (all p < 0.001), but IL-12B. Consistently, serum resistin was correlated with all serum cytokines (all p < 0.001), but IL-12. Expression (eRPS) and serum (sRPS) resistin pathway scores (excluding IL-12) were each other correlated (p < 0.001) and both associated with cardiovascular risk factors (all p < 0.01). In GHS, sRPS was independently associated with MACE (HR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.10-1.90). Our data indicate the existence of a resistin pathway, which is associated with cardiovascular risk factors and which strongly and independently predicts MACE.
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