BACKGROUND: Integration of systems-level biomolecular information with electronic health records has led to recent interest in the glycoprotein acetyls (GlycA) biomarker-a serum- or plasma-derived nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy signal that represents the abundance of circulating glycated proteins. GlycA predicts risk of diverse outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and all-cause mortality; however, the underlying detailed associations of GlycA's morbidity and mortality risk are currently unknown.
METHODS: We used 2 population-based cohorts totaling 11 861 adults from the Finnish general population to test for an association with 468 common incident hospitalization and mortality outcomes during an 8-year follow-up. Further, we utilized 900 angiography patients to test for GlycA association with mortality risk and potential utility for mortality risk discrimination during 12-year follow-up.
RESULTS: New associations with GlycA and incident alcoholic liver disease, chronic renal failure, glomerular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, inflammatory polyarthropathies, and hypertension were uncovered, and known incident disease associations were replicated. GlycA associations for incident disease outcomes were in general not attenuated when adjusting for hsCRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein). Among 900 patients referred to angiography, GlycA had hazard ratios of 4.87 (95% CI, 2.45-9.65) and 5.00 (95% CI, 2.38-10.48) for 12-year risk of mortality in the fourth and fifth quintiles by GlycA levels, demonstrating its prognostic potential for identification of high-risk individuals. When modeled together, both hsCRP and GlycA were attenuated but remained significant.
CONCLUSIONS: GlycA was predictive of myriad incident diseases across many major internal organs and stratified mortality risk in angiography patients. Both GlycA and hsCRP had shared and independent contributions to mortality risk, suggesting chronic inflammation as an etiological factor. GlycA may be useful in improving risk prediction in specific disease settings.