The novel collagen matrikine, endotrophin, is associated with mortality and cardiovascular events in patients with atherosclerosis

S. Holm Nielsen*, A. Edsfeldt*, C. Tengryd, H. Gustafsson, A. C. Shore, A. Natali, F. Khan, F. Genovese, E. Bengtsson, M. Karsdal, D. J. Leeming, J. Nilsson, I. Goncalves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Background: Rupture of atherosclerotic plaques is the major cause of acute cardiovascular events. The biomarker PRO-C6 measuring Endotrophin, a matrikine of collagen type VI, may provide valuable information detecting subjects in need of intensified strategies for secondary prevention.

Objective: In this study, we evaluate endotrophin in human atherosclerotic plaques and circulating levels of PRO-C6 in patients with atherosclerosis, to determine the predictive potential of the biomarker.

Methods: Sections from the stenotic human carotid plaques were stained with the PRO-C6 antibody. PRO-C6 was measured in serum of patients enrolled in the Carotid Plaque Imagining Project (CPIP) (discovery cohort, n = 577) and the innovative medicines initiative surrogate markers for micro- and macrovascular hard end-points for innovative diabetes tools (IMI-SUMMIT, validation cohort, n = 1,378). Median follow-up was 43 months. Kaplan–Meier curves and log-rank tests were performed in the discovery cohort. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis (HR with 95% CI) was used in the discovery cohort and binary logistic regression (OR with 95% CI) in the validation cohort.

Results: PRO-C6 was localized in the core and shoulder of the atherosclerotic plaque. In the discovery cohort, PRO-C6 independently predicted future cardiovascular events (HR 1.089 [95% CI 1.019 −1.164], p = 0.01), cardiovascular death (HR 1.118 [95% CI 1.008 −1.241], p = 0.04) and all-cause death (HR 1.087 [95% CI 1.008 −1.172], p = 0.03). In the validation cohort, PRO-C6 predicted future cardiovascular events (OR 1.063 [95% CI 1.011 −1.117], p = 0.017).

Conclusion: PRO-C6 is present in the atherosclerotic plaque and associated with future cardiovascular events, cardiovascular death and all-cause mortality in two large prospective cohorts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)179-189
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Biomarkers
  • Collagen
  • Endotrophin
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Inflammation


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