Background Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) have recently been identified as mediators in atherothrombosis. Although NETosis in general has been suggested to be glucose dependent, the transferability to patients with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is unclear. We assessed whether the NETs markers double-stranded deoxyribonucleid acid (dsDNA) and myeloperoxidase-DNA (MPO-DNA) associated with plasma glucose and the glucometabolic status in the acute phase and 3 months after a STEMI. We also explored whether an acute glucose load resulted in upregulated NETosis by assessment of peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PAD4) gene expression. Methods In total, 224 STEMI patients were prospectively enrolled and underwent blood sampling acutely (median 16.5 h after PCI) and after 3 months. Glucometabolic status was defined based on the results of an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) as normal glucose regulation (NGR), impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or type 2 diabetes (T2DM). dsDNA and MPO-DNA were measured in serum, while PAD4 mRNA was measured in circulating leukocytes by RT-PCR. Results dsDNA levels were significantly correlated to plasma glucose both acutely and after 3 months (r = 0.12 and r = 0.17, both p < 0.02), whereas MPO-DNA was not. No associations with the glucometabolic status were encountered for dsDNA and MPO-DNA acutely, but after 3 months dsDNA levels were elevated in patients with IFG and T2DM vs. NGR (428 vs. 371 ng/ml and 408 vs. 371 ng/ml, both p < 0.045). During the acute glucose load after 3 months, dsDNA and MPO-DNA remained unchanged while PAD4 mRNA increased significantly (RQ 0.836 vs. 0.920, p = 0.02). Conclusions In this cohort of STEMI patients, levels of dsDNA associated with plasma glucose both in the acute and stable condition. The glucometabolic status was not substantially related to the selected NETs markers, however, an acute glucose load by OGTT performed after 3 months resulted in increased PAD4 expression, suggestive of enhanced NETosis in the aftermath of STEMI. Trial registration www.clinicaltrials.gov, NCT00926133 . Registered June 23, 2009.
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