Aims/hypothesis High levels of serum heat shock protein 27 (sHSP27) have been associated with distal symmetric polyneuropathy in patients with type 1 diabetes. Our objective was to investigate the association between sHSP27, neuropathic signs and nerve function in individuals with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and type 2 diabetes.
Methods Participants were recruited consecutively from the population-based Vasterbotten Intervention Program (NGT, n=39, IGT, n=29, and type 2 diabetes, n=51) and were matched for age and sex. sHSP27 levels were measured and nerve conduction studies were performed (peroneal and sural nerves). z Scores for each nerve conduction measure were calculated and compiled into a composite z score for the leg. Neuropathy disability score (NDS) was used to assess neuropathic signs.
Results Patients with diabetes had significantly lower sHSP27 levels (geometric mean sHSP27 206 pg/ml, 95% CI 142, 299) than those with IGT (geometric mean sHSP27 455 pg/ml, 95% CI 319, 650, p<0.05) and controls (geometric mean sHSP27 361 pg/ml, 95% CI 282, 461, p<0.05). Participants with few signs of neuropathy (first tertile, NDS <= 2) had significantly higher sHSP27 levels (geometric mean sHSP27 401 pg/ml, 95% CI 310, 520) than participants with many signs (third tertile, NDS >= 7) (geometric mean sHSP27 192 pg/ml, 95% CI 128, 288, p=0.007). The highest sHSP27 tertile was associated with better nerve function, adjusted for age, sex, statin medication and HbA(1c) (OR 2.51, 95% CI 1.25, 5.05, p<0.05).
Conclusions/interpretation High sHSP27 levels were associated with better nerve function and fewer neuropathic signs in NGT, IGT and type 2 diabetes.
Springer, 2011. Vol. 54, no 12, 3143-3149 p.