Aim/hypothesis: In two large RCTs, fenofibrate reduced the progression of diabetic retinopathy. We investigated whether fenofibrate increases circulating haematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), which have vascular properties and have been shown to protect from retinopathy. Methods: We conducted a 12 week parallel-group RCT comparing fenofibrate vs placebo. Patients with diabetic retinopathy and without other conditions that would affect HSPCs were enrolled at a tertiary diabetes outpatient clinic and randomised to receive fenofibrate or placebo based on a computer-generated sequence. Patients and study staff assessing the outcomes were blinded to group assignment. The primary endpoint was the change in the levels of circulating HSPCs, defined by expression of the stem cell markers CD34 and/or CD133. Secondary endpoints were the changes in endothelial progenitor cells, lipids, soluble mediators and gene expression. We used historical data on the association between HSPCs and retinopathy outcomes to estimate the effect of fenofibrate on retinopathy progression. Results: Forty-two participants with diabetic retinopathy were randomised and 41 completed treatment and were analysed (20 in the placebo group and 21 in the fenofibrate group). Mean age was 57.4 years, diabetes duration was 18.2 years and baseline HbA1c was 60 mmol/mol (7.6%). When compared with placebo, fenofibrate significantly increased levels of HSPCs expressing CD34 and/or CD133. CD34+ HSPCs non-significantly declined in the placebo group (mean ± SD –44.2 ± 31.6 cells/106) and significantly increased in the fenofibrate group (53.8 ± 31.1 cells/106). The placebo-subtracted increase in CD34+ HSPCs from baseline was 30% (99.3 ± 43.3 cells/106; p = 0.027) which, projected onto the relationship between HSPC levels and retinopathy outcomes, yielded an OR of retinopathy progression of 0.67 for fenofibrate vs placebo. Endothelial differentiation of CD34+ cells, estimated by the %KDR (kinase insert domain receptor) expression, was significantly reduced by fenofibrate. Fenofibrate decreased serum triacylglycerols, but the change in triacylglycerols was unrelated to the change in HSPCs. No effect was observed for endothelial progenitor cells, cytokines/chemokines (stromal-cell derived factor-1, vascular endothelial growth factor, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) and gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Conclusions/interpretation: Fenofibrate increased HSPC levels in participants with diabetic retinopathy and this mechanism may explain why fenofibrate reduced retinopathy progression in previous studies. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01927315. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Fenofibrate increases circulating haematopoietic stem cells in people with diabetic retinopathy: a randomised, placebo-controlled trial

Bonora B. M.;Albiero M.;Morieri M. L.;Amendolagine F. I.;Zambon A.;Iori E.;Avogaro A.;Fadini G. P.
2021

Abstract

Aim/hypothesis: In two large RCTs, fenofibrate reduced the progression of diabetic retinopathy. We investigated whether fenofibrate increases circulating haematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), which have vascular properties and have been shown to protect from retinopathy. Methods: We conducted a 12 week parallel-group RCT comparing fenofibrate vs placebo. Patients with diabetic retinopathy and without other conditions that would affect HSPCs were enrolled at a tertiary diabetes outpatient clinic and randomised to receive fenofibrate or placebo based on a computer-generated sequence. Patients and study staff assessing the outcomes were blinded to group assignment. The primary endpoint was the change in the levels of circulating HSPCs, defined by expression of the stem cell markers CD34 and/or CD133. Secondary endpoints were the changes in endothelial progenitor cells, lipids, soluble mediators and gene expression. We used historical data on the association between HSPCs and retinopathy outcomes to estimate the effect of fenofibrate on retinopathy progression. Results: Forty-two participants with diabetic retinopathy were randomised and 41 completed treatment and were analysed (20 in the placebo group and 21 in the fenofibrate group). Mean age was 57.4 years, diabetes duration was 18.2 years and baseline HbA1c was 60 mmol/mol (7.6%). When compared with placebo, fenofibrate significantly increased levels of HSPCs expressing CD34 and/or CD133. CD34+ HSPCs non-significantly declined in the placebo group (mean ± SD –44.2 ± 31.6 cells/106) and significantly increased in the fenofibrate group (53.8 ± 31.1 cells/106). The placebo-subtracted increase in CD34+ HSPCs from baseline was 30% (99.3 ± 43.3 cells/106; p = 0.027) which, projected onto the relationship between HSPC levels and retinopathy outcomes, yielded an OR of retinopathy progression of 0.67 for fenofibrate vs placebo. Endothelial differentiation of CD34+ cells, estimated by the %KDR (kinase insert domain receptor) expression, was significantly reduced by fenofibrate. Fenofibrate decreased serum triacylglycerols, but the change in triacylglycerols was unrelated to the change in HSPCs. No effect was observed for endothelial progenitor cells, cytokines/chemokines (stromal-cell derived factor-1, vascular endothelial growth factor, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) and gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Conclusions/interpretation: Fenofibrate increased HSPC levels in participants with diabetic retinopathy and this mechanism may explain why fenofibrate reduced retinopathy progression in previous studies. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01927315. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]
2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3397017
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