Background: Apelin is an adipokine that plays a role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis and in obesity. The relationship between apelin serum concentration and dysmetabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) is still controversial. Aims of our study are: 1) determine the circulating levels of apelin in a large cohort of Italian subjects with T2D, T1D and in non-diabetic controls; 2) identify putative metabolic determinants of modified apelin concentrations, in order to search possible mechanism of apelin control; 3) investigate changes in apelin levels in response to sharp modifications of glucose/insulin metabolism in T2D obese subjects before and 3 days after bariatric surgery. Methods: We recruited 369 subjects, 119 with T2D, 113 with T1D and 137 non-diabetic controls. All subjects underwent a complete clinical examination, including anthropometric and laboratory measurements. Serum apelin levels were determined by EIA (immunoenzyme assay). Results: Patients with T2D had significantly higher serum apelin levels compared to controls (1.23 +/- 1.1 ng/mL vs 0.91 +/- 0.7 ng/mL, P<0.001) and to T1D subjects (0.73 +/- 0.39 ng/mL, P<0.001). Controls and T1D subjects did not differ significantly in apelin levels. Apelin concentrations were directly associated with fasting blood glucose (FBG), body mass index (BMI), basal Disposition Index (DI-0), age, and diagnosis of T2D at bivariate correlation analysis. Multiple regression analysis confirmed that diagnosis of T2D, basal DI-0 and FBG were all determinants of serum apelin levels independently from age and BMI. Bariatric surgery performed in a subgroup of obese diabetic subjects (n = 12) resulted in a significant reduction of apelin concentrations compared to baseline levels (P = 0.01). Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that T2D, but not T1D, is associated with increased serum apelin levels compared to non-diabetic subjects. This association is dependent on impaired glucose homeostasis, and disappears after bariatric surgery, providing further evidence regarding the relationship between apelin and the regulation of glucose metabolism.
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