Diabetes, GDF-15 and incident heart failure: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study

Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui, Natalie Daya, Chiadi E. Ndumele, Kunihiro Matsushita, Ron C. Hoogeveen, Christie M. Ballantyne, Josef Coresh, Amil M. Shah, Elizabeth Selvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims/hypothesis: Elevated circulating growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15), a marker of cellular stress, is associated with both heart failure (HF) and diabetes. However, it is unclear to what extent GDF-15 is associated with HF among individuals with and without diabetes. Methods: We evaluated 10,570 participants free of HF at Visit 3 (1993–1995) of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. We used Cox regression to evaluate the joint associations of GDF-15 and diabetes with incident HF. Models were adjusted for traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Results: Among a total of 10,570 individuals (mean age of 60.0 years, 54% women, 27% black adults), elevated GDF-15 (≥75th percentile) was more common in people with diabetes compared with those without diabetes (32.8% vs 23.6%, p<0.0001). During 23 years of follow-up, there were 2429 incident HF events. GDF-15 (in quartiles) was independently associated with HF among those with and without diabetes, with a stronger association among individuals with diabetes (p-for-diabetes–GDF-15 interaction = 0.034): HR for highest vs lowest GDF-15 quartile (reference): 1.64 (95% CI 1.41, 1.91) among those without diabetes and 1.72 (95% CI 1.32, 2.23) among those with diabetes. Individuals with diabetes and elevated GDF-15 had the highest risk of incident HF (HR 2.46; 95% CI 1.99, 3.03). After accounting for HF risk factors, GDF-15 provided additional prognostic information among participants with diabetes (ΔC statistic for model with vs model without GDF-15: +0.008, p = 0.001) and among those without diabetes (+0.006, p<0.0001). Conclusions/interpretation: In a community-based sample of US adults, GDF-15 provided complementary prognostic information on the HF risk, especially among individuals with diabetes. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-963
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Growth differentiation factor-15
  • Heart failure
  • Prediction
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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