Background: Although individuals with diabetes mellitus frequently have dyslipidaemias and high blood pressure, much of the increased risk for coronary heart disease is not explained by these and other classical risk factors. Thus, other less widely recognized risk factors, including increased susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to oxidation, might enhance vascular dysfunction and atherogenesis in diabetes. Aims: We compared both the rate and extent of LDL oxidation ex vivo between 78 poorly controlled individuals with type 1 diabetes and 78 age- and sex-matched non-diabetic controls. We then initiated intensive insulin therapy for 3 months to determine the impact of improved glucose control on LDL composition and oxidation. Results: Diabetic and non-diabetic individuals did not have significantly different body weights, dietary intake, blood pressure, renal function or plasma lipid levels. LDL composition was also similar in both groups. In contrast, vitamin E content in LDL was significantly lower in diabetic patients. Measures of LDL lipid oxidation, including conjugated diene, lipid peroxide and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances formation, as well as measures of LDL protein modification, were significantly greater in diabetic patients. Levels of hyperglycaemia correlated strongly with each measure of LDL lipid oxidation (r ranges from 0·60-0·81, P<0.05 for each correlation). After improved glucose control (average reduction in % HbAlc of 5·5 units) all measures of LDL oxidation improved dramatically and approached values for non-diabetics. Absolute values of LDL oxidation increased among all categories of age in both diabetic and control individuals, and this relationship persisted even after adjustment for differences in glucose concentrations. Conclusions: We demonstrate that hyperglycaemia has a potent but reversible effect on LDL oxidation and that age may independently enhance LDL susceptibility to oxidation. These pathophysiological effects may play an important role in determining vascular complications and atherogenesis in poorly controlled type 1 diabetic patients.
- LDL oxidation
- Oxygen radicals
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine