Open Access Research article

Increased plasma soluble endoglin levels as an indicator of cardiovascular alterations in hypertensive and diabetic patients

Ana M Blázquez-Medela1, Luis García-Ortiz2, Manuel A Gómez-Marcos2, José I Recio-Rodríguez2, Angel Sánchez-Rodríguez3, José M López-Novoa1 and Carlos Martínez-Salgado14*

Author Affiliations

1 Unidad de Fisiopatología Renal y Cardiovascular, Instituto Reina Sofía de Investigación Nefrológica, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain

2 Unidad de Investigación, Centro de Salud La Alamedilla, SACYL, Salamanca, Spain

3 Servicio de Medicina Interna, Hospital Universitario de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain

4 Instituto de Estudios de Ciencias de la Salud de Castilla y León (IECSCYL), Unidad de Investigación, Hospital Universitario de Salamanca, Paseo San Vicente 58-182, 37007 Salamanca, Spain

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BMC Medicine 2010, 8:86  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-86

Published: 20 December 2010



Endoglin is involved in the regulation of endothelial function, but there are no studies concerning its relation with hypertension- and diabetes-associated pathologies. Thus, we studied the relationship between plasma levels of soluble endoglin and cardiovascular alterations associated with hypertension and diabetes.


We analyzed 288 patients: 64 with type 2 diabetes, 159 with hypertension and 65 healthy patients. We assessed the relationship of soluble endoglin plasma levels measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with basal glycemia, glycosylated hemoglobin, blood pressure, endothelial dysfunction (assessed by pressure wave velocity), hypertensive retinopathy (by Keith-Wagener classification), left ventricular hypertrophy (by Cornell and Sokolow indexes), cardiovascular risk and target organ (heart, vascular, kidney) damage.


There are significant correlations between endoglin and glycemia, systolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, pressure wave velocity and electrocardiographically assessed left ventricular hypertrophy. Endoglin levels were significantly higher in patients with diabetes who had nondipper and extreme dipper circadian blood pressure patterns than in dipper circadian patterns, in patients with hypertension and diabetes who had riser pattern than in the other patients, and in patients with diabetes but not hypertension who had extreme dipper pattern than in dipper, nondipper and riser groups. There was also a significant correlation between plasma-soluble endoglin and lower levels of systolic night-day ratio. Higher endoglin levels were found in patients with diabetes who had retinopathy, in patients with diabetes who had a high probability of 10-year cardiovascular risk, and in patients with diabetes and hypertension who had three or more damaged target organs (heart, vessels, kidney) than in those with no organs affected.


This study shows that endoglin is an indicator of hypertension- and diabetes-associated vascular pathologies as endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular damage.