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1.  Vascular effects of advanced glycation endproducts: Clinical effects and molecular mechanisms☆ 
Molecular Metabolism  2013;3(2):94-108.
The enhanced generation and accumulation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) have been linked to increased risk for macrovascular and microvascular complications associated with diabetes mellitus. AGEs result from the nonenzymatic reaction of reducing sugars with proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, potentially altering their function by disrupting molecular conformation, promoting cross-linking, altering enzyme activity, reducing their clearance, and impairing receptor recognition. AGEs may also activate specific receptors, like the receptor for AGEs (RAGE), which is present on the surface of all cells relevant to atherosclerotic processes, triggering oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis. Understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of AGEs is paramount to develop strategies against diabetic and cardiovascular complications.
PMCID: PMC3953708  PMID: 24634815
Advanced glycation endproducts; Endothelium; Vascular
2.  Early- and advanced non-enzymatic glycation in diabetic vascular complications: the search for therapeutics 
Amino Acids  2010;42(4):1193-1204.
Cardiovascular disease is a common complication of diabetes and the leading cause of death among people with diabetes. Because of the huge premature morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes, prevention of vascular complications is a key issue. Although the exact mechanism by which vascular damage occurs in diabetes in not fully understood, numerous studies support the hypothesis of a causal relationship of non-enzymatic glycation with vascular complications. In this review, data which point to an important role of Amadori-modified glycated proteins and advanced glycation endproducts in vascular disease are surveyed. Because of the potential role of early- and advanced non-enzymatic glycation in vascular complications, we also described recent developments of pharmacological inhibitors that inhibit the formation of these glycated products or the biological consequences of glycation and thereby retard the development of vascular complications in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3296013  PMID: 20960212
Diabetes; Non-enzymatic glycation; AGEs; Amadori-albumin; Vascular complications
3.  Skin Autofluorescence: A Pronounced Marker of Mortality in Hemodialysis Patients 
Nephron Extra  2012;2(1):184-191.
Accelerated formation and tissue accumulation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), reflecting cumulative glycemic and oxidative stress, occur in age-related and chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus (DM) and renal failure, and contribute to vascular damage. Skin autofluorescence (AF), a noninvasive measurement method, reflects tissue accumulation of AGEs. The aim of our study was to determine the predictive value of skin AF on overall and cardiovascular mortality in hemodialysis patients.
Baseline skin AF was measured in 105 patients on hemodialysis, 23 had DM. Survival status was assessed after a mean follow-up period of 4.9 years (interquartile range 2.3–6.9 years).
Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed skin AF (hazard ratio (HR) 1.83; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.32–2.54), preexisting cardiovascular disease (CVD) (HR 2.77; 95% CI 1.48–5.18), renal replacement therapy duration (HR 1.10; 95% CI 1.01–1.19), age (HR 1.03; 95% CI 1.01–1.06), serum albumin (HR 0.90; 95% CI 0.85–0.95), hematocrit (HR 0.92; 95% CI 0.86–0.98), phosphorus (HR 2.01; 95% CI 1.15–3.49), and parathyroid hormone (HR 0.99; 95% CI 0.98–0.996) to be predictors of mortality, whereas DM was not. Preexisting CVD and serum phosphorus were the only predictors of cardiovascular mortality.
Skin AF showed to be an independent predictor of overall mortality in hemodialysis patients, but it had no predictive value for cardiovascular mortality.
PMCID: PMC3398816  PMID: 22811692
Autofluorescence; Diabetes mellitus; Hemodialysis; Mortality
4.  Consequences of Advanced Glycation End Products Accumulation in Chronic Kidney Disease and Clinical Usefulness of Their Assessment Using a Non-invasive Technique – Skin Autofluorescence 
Mædica  2011;6(4):298-307.
Accelerated formation and accumulation of advanced glycation end-products occur under circumstances of increased supply of substrates such as hyperglycaemic or oxidative stress and in age-related and chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus, chronic renal failure, neurodegenerative diseases, osteoarthritis and also non-diabetic atherosclerosis and chronic heart failure. Advanced glycation end-products accumulation occurs especially on long-lived proteins such as collagen in the skin and in vascular basement membranes leading to vascular damage. Adequate renal clearance capacity is an important factor in the effective removal of advanced glycation end-products. The Autofluorescence Reader was developed as a marker, representative for tissue advanced glycation end-products accumulation, easily applicable in a clinical setting, initially for predicting diabetes related complications. Studies have already shown a relationship between skin autofluorescence and diabetes complications, as well as its predictive value for total and cardiovascular mortality in type 2 diabetes. Moreover skin autofluorescence was demonstrated to be superior to Haemoglobin A1c and other conventional risk factors. Advanced glycation end-products have been proposed as a novel factor involved in the development and progression of chronic heart failure. Assessment of advanced glycation end-products accumulation in end-stage renal disease and undergoing renal replacement therapies patients has become of great importance. Cardiovascular and connective tissue disorders are very common in patients with end-stage renal disease, and the accumulation of advanced glycation end-products is significantly increased in these patients. Mortality is markedly increased in patients with decreased kidney function, particularly in patients with end-stage renal disease. Skin advanced glycation end-products levels are strong predictors of survival in haemodialysis patients independent of other established risk factors. The Autofluorescence Reader may be useful as a clinical tool for rapid assessment of risk for advanced glycation end-products related long-term complications, not only in diabetes, but in other conditions associated with advanced glycation end-products accumulation as well.
PMCID: PMC3391948  PMID: 22879845
advanced glycation end-products; skin autofluorescence; metabolic stess; chronic kidney disease
5.  Covalent Binding Antibodies Suppress Advanced Glycation: On the Innate Tier of Adaptive Immunity 
Acta Naturae  2009;1(2):66-72.
Non-enzymatic protein glycation is a source of metabolic stress that contributes to cytotoxicity and tissue damage. Hyperglycemia has been linked to elevation of advanced glycation endproducts, which mediate much of the vascular pathology leading to diabetic complications. Enhanced glycation of immunoglobulins and their accelerated vascular clearance is proposed as a natural mechanism to intercept alternative advanced glycation endproducts, thereby mitigating microvascular disease. We reported that antibodies against the glycoprotein KLH have elevated reactivity for glycopeptides from diabetic serum. These reactions are mediated by covalent binding between antibody light chains and carbonyl groups of glycated peptides. Diabetic animals that were immunized to induce reactive antibodies had attenuated diabetic nephropathy, which correlated with reduced levels of circulating and kidney-bound glycation products. Molecular analysis of antibody glycation revealed the preferential modification of light chains bearing germline-encoded lambda V regions. We previously noted that antibody fragments carrying V regions in the germline configuration are selected from a human Fv library by covalent binding to a reactive organophosphorus ester. These Fv fragments were specifically modified at light chain V region residues, which map to the combining site at the interface between light and heavy chains. These findings suggest that covalent binding is an innate property of antibodies, which may be encoded in the genome for specific physiological purposes. This hypothesis is discussed in context with current knowledge of the natural antibodies that recognize altered self molecules and the catalytic autoantibodies found in autoimmune disease.
PMCID: PMC3347515  PMID: 22649604
6.  Cardiac Fibroblast-Dependent Extracellular Matrix Accumulation Is Associated with Diastolic Stiffness in Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72080.
Cardiovascular complications are a leading cause of death in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Diastolic dysfunction is one of the earliest manifestations of diabetes-induced changes in left ventricular (LV) function, and results from a reduced rate of relaxation and increased stiffness. The mechanisms responsible for increased stiffness are not completely understood. Chronic hyperglycemia, advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), and increased levels of proinflammatory and profibrotic cytokines are molecular pathways known to be involved in regulating extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis and accumulation resulting in increased LV diastolic stiffness. Experiments were conducted using a genetically-induced mouse model of T2DM generated by a point mutation in the leptin receptor resulting in nonfunctional leptin receptors (db/db murine model). This study correlated changes in LV ECM and stiffness with alterations in basal activation of signaling cascades and expression of profibrotic markers within primary cultures of cardiac fibroblasts from diabetic (db/db) mice with nondiabetic (db/wt) littermates as controls. Primary cultures of cardiac fibrobroblasts were maintained in 25 mM glucose (hyperglycemic-HG; diabetic db/db) media or 5 mM glucose (normoglycemic-NG, nondiabetic db/wt) media. The cells then underwent a 24-hour exposure to their opposite (NG; diabetic db/db) media or 5 mM glucose (HG, nondiabetic db/wt) media. Protein analysis demonstrated significantly increased expression of type I collagen, TIMP-2, TGF-β, PAI-1 and RAGE in diabetic db/db cells as compared to nondiabetic db/wt, independent of glucose media concentration. This pattern of protein expression was associated with increased LV collagen accumulation, myocardial stiffness and LV diastolic dysfunction. Isolated diabetic db/db fibroblasts were phenotypically distinct from nondiabetic db/wt fibroblasts and exhibited a profibrotic phenotype in normoglycemic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3749105  PMID: 23991045
7.  Impact of GLO1 Knock Down on GLUT4 Trafficking and Glucose Uptake in L6 Myoblasts 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e65195.
Methylglyoxal (MG), a highly reactive α-dicarbonyl metabolite of glucose degradation pathways, protein and fatty acid metabolism, plays an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetic complications. Hyperglycemia triggers enhanced production of MG and increased generation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). In non-enzymatic reactions, MG reacts with arginine residues of proteins to form the AGEs argpyrimidine and hydroimidazolone. Glyoxalase 1 (GLO1), in combination with glyoxalase 2 and the co-factor glutathione constitute the glyoxalase system, which is responsible for the detoxification of MG. A GLO1 specific knock down results in accumulation of MG in targeted cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of intracellularly accumulated MG on insulin signaling and on the translocation of the glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4). Therefore, L6 cells stably expressing a myc-tagged GLUT4 were examined. For the intracellular accumulation of MG, GLO1, the first enzyme of the glyoxalase pathway, was down regulated by siRNA knock down and cells were cultivated under hyperglycemic conditions (25 mM glucose) for 48 h. Here we show that GLO1 knock down augmented GLUT4 level on the cell surface of L6 myoblasts at least in part through reduction of GLUT4 internalization, resulting in increased glucose uptake. However, intracellular accumulation of MG had no effect on GLUT4 concentration or modification. The antioxidant and MG scavenger NAC prevented the MG-induced GLUT4 translocation. Tiron, which is also a well-known antioxidant, had no impact on MG-induced GLUT4 translocation.
PMCID: PMC3662699  PMID: 23717693
8.  Amadori Glycated Proteins: Role in Production of Autoantibodies in Diabetes Mellitus and Effect of Inhibitors on Non-Enzymatic Glycation 
Aging and Disease  2012;4(1):50-56.
Nonenzymatic glycation of macromolecules, especially proteins leading to their oxidation is increased in diabetes mellitus due to hyperglycemia and play an important role in associated complications of the disease. The glycation primarily occurs at intrachain lysine residues of proteins and results in the formation of an early stage stable product as Amadori-lysine which undergo further irreversible chemical reactions to form advanced glycation endproducts. This review deals with the role of Amadori modified proteins in pathogenesis of diabetes. We aim to explain immunogenicity of Amadori-glycated proteins, which might be involve in production of serum autoantibodies in the diabetic patients, and effect of inhibitors on the glycation process.
PMCID: PMC3570141  PMID: 23423609
Amadori products; Antibodies; diabetes complications; lysine rich proteins
9.  Resistance Training in Type II Diabetes Mellitus: Impact on Areas of Metabolic Dysfunction in Skeletal Muscle and Potential Impact on Bone 
The prevalence of Type II Diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is increasing rapidly and will continue to be a major healthcare expenditure burden. As such, identification of effective lifestyle treatments is paramount. Skeletal muscle and bone display metabolic and functional disruption in T2DM. Skeletal muscle in T2DM is characterized by insulin resistance, impaired glycogen synthesis, impairments in mitochondria, and lipid accumulation. Bone quality in T2DM is decreased, potentially due to the effects of advanced glycation endproducts on collagen, impaired osteoblast activity, and lipid accumulation. Although exercise is widely recognized as an important component of treatment for T2DM, the focus has largely been on aerobic exercise. Emerging research suggests that resistance training (strength training) may impose potent and unique benefits in T2DM. The purpose of this review is to examine the role of resistance training in treating the dysfunction in skeletal muscle and the potential role for resistance training in treating the associated dysfunction in bone.
PMCID: PMC3306910  PMID: 22474580
10.  Activation of RAGE induces elevated O2- generation by mononuclear phagocytes in diabetes 
Journal of leukocyte biology  2006;81(2):520-527.
Oxidative stress has been found to play a role in the pathogenesis of diabetic complications. The aim of this study was to define the oxidative burst of diabetic monocytes to characterize the phenotype associated with poor diabetic control. Superoxide (O2-) is the first molecule generated during the respiratory burst of phagocytes by NADPH oxidase, and its generation by monocytes from 26 controls and 34 diabetic subjects was evaluated in this study. Under resting states or stimulation by PMA or opsonized zymosan, diabetic monocytes produce significantly more O2- than nondiabetic cells. The increased O2- generation was found to be correlated with glycemic control (glycated hemoglobin) of patients. To clarify the effects of hyperglycemia on O2- generation, normal human monocytes were treated with receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) ligands (AGE protein and S100B) or high glucose media before stimulation. RAGE ligands and high glucose concentration increased O2- generation from human mononuclear phagocytes. RAGE ligands, specifically and potently, increased O2- generation from mononuclear phagocytes, and high-glucose effects were associated with correspondingly increased osmotic pressure. Differentiated THP-1 cells, from a human monocytic cell line, were used as a model of human monocytes to study the effects of S100B, the RAGE ligand. It was confirmed that RAGE is involved in the priming of O2- generation by S100B. This study demonstrates that RAGE ligands can contribute significantly to the hyper-responsive phenotype of diabetic monocytes, which might be reversible by blocking the RAGE or controlling the presence of RAGE ligands by controlling hyperglycemia.
PMCID: PMC2533418  PMID: 17095613
11.  Microinflammation in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy 
Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end‐stage renal failure in developed countries. Furthermore, diabetic nephropathy is related to the risk of cardiovascular diseases and an increase in mortality of diabetic patients. Several factors are involved in the development of nephropathy, including glomerular hyperfiltration, oxidative stress, accumulation of advanced glycation end‐products, activation of protein kinase C, acceleration of the polyol pathway and over‐expression of transforming growth factor‐β. Recently, accumulated data have emphasized the critical roles of chronic low‐grade inflammation, ‘microinflammation’, in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy, suggesting that microinflammation is a common mechanism in the development of diabetic vascular complications. Expression of cell adhesion molecules, chemokines and pro‐inflammatory cytokines are increased in the renal tissues of diabetic patients and animals. Deficiency of pro‐inflammatory molecules results in amelioration of renal injuries after induction of diabetes in mice. Plasma and urinary levels of cytokines, chemokines and cell adhesion molecules, are elevated and correlated with albuminuria. Several kinds of drugs that have anti‐inflammatory actions as their pleiotropic effects showed renoprotective effects on diabetic animals. Modulation of the inflammatory process prevents renal insufficiency in diabetic animal models, suggesting that microinflammation is one of the promising therapeutic targets for diabetic nephropathy, as well as for cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC4019266  PMID: 24843643
Diabetic nephropathy; Inflammation; Microinflammation
12.  Advanced glycation endproducts in sepsis and mechanical ventilation: extra or leading man? 
Critical Care  2009;13(4):164.
Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are primarily known as a complication in diabetic patients through their mediation of the inflammatory response. However, a variety of studies have demonstrated enhanced formation of AGEs in cardiovascular disorders. Despite the large number of AGEs produced during the Maillard reaction, recent focus is on the major non-crosslinking AGE Nε-carboxymethyllysine. Kneyber and colleagues focused on sepsis-induced cardiac dysfunction and investigated whether myocardial inflammation is associated with enhanced cardiac AGE deposition and whether this is further enhanced by mechanical ventilation. They showed that both conditions are associated with enhanced AGE deposition and myocardial inflammation. Therefore, AGEs may participate in the inflammatory response related to cardiac dysfunction in critically ill patients. Moreover, life-saving ventilation stimulates AGE formation in these patients. This interesting study raises the question of whether AGEs in critically ill patients are a driving force of the disease.
PMCID: PMC2750142  PMID: 19664173
13.  Is There Inflammatory Synergy in Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Alzheimer's Disease? 
Metabolic dysregulation, including abnormal glucose utilization and insulin resistance or deficiency, occurs at an early stage of AD independent of type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Thus, AD has been considered as type 3 diabetes. T2DM is a risk factor for AD; the coexistence of these two diseases in a society with an increasing mean age is a significant issue. Recently, research has focused on shared molecular mechanisms in these two diseases with the goal of determining whether treating T2DM can lessen the severity of AD. The progress in this field lends strong support to several mechanisms that could affect these two diseases, including insulin resistance and signaling, vascular injuries, inflammation, and the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts and their ligands. In this paper, we focus on inflammation-based mechanisms in both diseases and discuss potential synergism in these mechanisms when these two diseases coexist in the same patient.
PMCID: PMC3388453  PMID: 22779027
14.  The receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) and cardiovascular disease 
Recent and compelling investigation has expanded our view of the biological settings in which the products of nonenzymatic glycation and oxidation of proteins and lipids – the advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) – form and accumulate. Beyond diabetes, natural ageing and renal failure, AGEs form in inflammation, oxidative stress and in ischaemia–reperfusion. The chief signal transduction receptor for AGEs – the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) – is a multiligand-binding member of the immunoglobulin superfamily. In addition to AGEs, RAGE binds certain members of the S100/calgranulin family, high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), and β-amyloid peptide and β-sheet fibrils. Recent studies demonstrate beneficial effects of RAGE antagonism and genetic deletion in rodent models of atherosclerosis and ischaemia–reperfusion injury in the heart and great vessels. Experimental evidence is accruing that RAGE ligand generation and release during ischaemia–reperfusion may signal through RAGE, thus suggesting that antagonism of this receptor might provide a novel form of therapeutic intervention in heart disease. However, it is plausible that innate, tissue-regenerative roles for these RAGE ligands may also impact the failing heart – perhaps through RAGE and/or distinct receptors. In this review, we focus on RAGE and the consequences of its activation in the cardiovasculature.
PMCID: PMC2670065  PMID: 19278572
15.  Skin Autofluorescence Based Decision Tree in Detection of Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65592.
Diabetes (DM) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) detection are conventionally based on glycemic criteria. Skin autofluorescence (SAF) is a noninvasive proxy of tissue accumulation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGE) which are considered to be a carrier of glycometabolic memory. We compared SAF and a SAF-based decision tree (SAF-DM) with fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and HbA1c, and additionally with the Finnish Diabetes Risk Score (FINDRISC) questionnaire±FPG for detection of oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)- or HbA1c-defined IGT and diabetes in intermediate risk persons.
Participants had ≥1 metabolic syndrome criteria. They underwent an OGTT, HbA1c, SAF and FINDRISC, in adition to SAF-DM which includes SAF, age, BMI, and conditional questions on DM family history, antihypertensives, renal or cardiovascular disease events (CVE).
218 persons, age 56 yr, 128M/90F, 97 with previous CVE, participated. With OGTT 28 had DM, 46 IGT, 41 impaired fasting glucose, 103 normal glucose tolerance. SAF alone revealed 23 false positives (FP), 34 false negatives (FN) (sensitivity (S) 68%; specificity (SP) 86%). With SAF-DM, FP were reduced to 18, FN to 16 (5 with DM) (S 82%; SP 89%). HbA1c scored 48 FP, 18 FN (S 80%; SP 75%). Using HbA1c-defined DM-IGT/suspicion ≥6%/42 mmol/mol, SAF-DM scored 33 FP, 24 FN (4 DM) (S76%; SP72%), FPG 29 FP, 41 FN (S71%; SP80%). FINDRISC≥10 points as detection of HbA1c-based diabetes/suspicion scored 79 FP, 23 FN (S 69%; SP 45%).
SAF-DM is superior to FPG and non-inferior to HbA1c to detect diabetes/IGT in intermediate-risk persons. SAF-DM’s value for diabetes/IGT screening is further supported by its established performance in predicting diabetic complications.
PMCID: PMC3672176  PMID: 23750268
16.  The RAGE Axis: a Fundamental Mechanism Signaling Danger to the Vulnerable Vasculature 
Circulation research  2010;106(5):842-853.
The immunoglobulin superfamily molecule RAGE transduces the effects of multiple ligands, including advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), advanced oxidation protein products (AOPPs), S100/calgranulins, high mobility group box-1, amyloid-β peptide and β-sheet fibrils. In diabetes, hyperglycemia likely stimulates the initial burst of production of ligands that interact with RAGE and activate signaling mechanisms. Consequently, increased generation of pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic molecules and reactive oxygen species trigger further cycles of oxidative stress via RAGE, thus setting the stage for augmented damage to diabetic tissues in the face of further insults. Many of the ligand families of RAGE have been identified in atherosclerotic plaques and in the infarcted heart. Together with increased expression of RAGE in diabetic settings, we propose that release and accumulation of RAGE ligands contribute to exaggerated cellular damage. Stopping the vicious cycle of AGE-RAGE and RAGE axis signaling in the vulnerable heart and great vessels may be essential in controlling and preventing the consequences of diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2862596  PMID: 20299674
diabetes; cardiovascular complications; RAGE; inflammation
17.  Reactive Metabolites and AGE-RAGE-Mediated Inflammation in Patients following Liver Transplantation 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:501430.
Recent investigations have indicated that reactive metabolites and AGE-RAGE-mediated inflammation might play an important role in the pathogenesis of ischemia-reperfusion injury in liver transplantation. In this observational clinical study, 150 patients were enrolled following liver transplantation from deceased donors. The occurrence of short-term complications within 10 days of transplantation was documented. Blood samples were collected prior to transplantation, immediately after transplantation, and at consecutive time points, for a total of seven days after transplantation. Plasma levels of methylglyoxal were determined using HPLC, whereas plasma levels of L-arginine, asymmetric dimethylarginine, advanced glycation endproducts-carboxylmethyllysine, soluble receptor for advanced glycation endproducts, and total antioxidant capacity were measured by ELISA. Patients following liver transplantation were shown to suffer from increased RAGE-associated inflammation with an AGE load mainly dependent upon reactive carbonyl species-derived AGEs. In contrast, carboxylmethyllysine-derived AGEs were of a minor importance. As assessed by the ratio of L-arginine/asymmetric dimethylarginine, the bioavailability of nitric oxide was shown to be reduced in hepatic IRI, especially in those patients suffering from perfusion disorders following liver transplantation. For the early identification of patients at high risk of perfusion disorders, the implementation of asymmetric dimethylarginine measurements in routine diagnostics following liver transplantation from deceased donors should be taken into consideration.
PMCID: PMC3677670  PMID: 23766560
18.  Increased levels of advanced glycation endproducts in the lenses and blood vessels of cigarette smokers. 
Molecular Medicine  1998;4(9):594-601.
BACKGROUND: Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) arise from the spontaneous reaction of reducing sugars with the amino groups of macromolecules. AGEs accumulate in tissue as a consequence of diabetes and aging and have been causally implicated in the pathogenesis of several of the end-organ complications of diabetes and aging, including cataract, atherosclerosis, and renal insufficiency. It has been recently proposed that components in mainstream cigarette smoke can react with plasma and extracellular matrix proteins to form covalent adducts with many of the properties of AGEs. We wished to ascertain whether AGEs or immunochemically related molecules are present at higher levels in the tissues of smokers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Lens and coronary artery specimens from nondiabetic smokers and nondiabetic nonsmokers were examined by immunohistochemistry, immunoelectron microscopy, and ELISA employing several distinct anti-AGE antibodies. In addition, lenticular extracts were tested for AGE-associated fluorescence by fluorescence spectroscopy. RESULTS: Immunoreactive AGEs were present at significantly higher levels in the lenses and lenticular extracts of nondiabetic smokers (p < 0.003). Anti-AGE immunogold staining was diffusely distributed throughout lens fiber cells. AGE-associated fluorescence was significantly increased in the lenticular extracts of nondiabetic smokers (p = 0.005). AGE-immunoreactivity was significantly elevated in coronary arteries from nondiabetic smokers compared with nondiabetic nonsmokers (p = 0.015). CONCLUSIONS: AGEs or immunochemically related molecules are present at higher levels in the tissues of smokers than in nonsmokers, irrespective of diabetes. In view of previous reports implicating AGEs in a causal association with numerous pathologies, these findings have significant ramifications for understanding the etiopathology of diseases associated with smoking, the single greatest preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States.
PMCID: PMC2230315  PMID: 9848076
19.  Smoking in diabetic nephropathy: sparks in the fuel tank? 
World Journal of Diabetes  2012;3(12):186-195.
Diabetic nephropathy is associated with high morbidity and mortality and the prevalence of this disease is continuously increasing worldwide. Long-term diabetes increases the likelihood of developing secondary complications like nephropathy, the most common cause of end stage renal disease. Usually, other factors like hypertension, alcoholism and smoking also partly contribute to the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Among this, cigarette smoking in diabetes has been repeatedly confirmed as an independent risk factor for the onset and progression of diabetic nephropathy. Various studies suggest that smoking is a major fuel in the development of high oxidative stress and subsequently hyperlipidemia, accumulation of advanced glycation end products, activation of the renin angiotensin system and Rho-kinase, which are observed to play a pathogenic role in the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Furthermore, cigarette smoking in diabetic patients with vascular complications produces a variety of pathological changes in the kidney, such as thickening of the glomerular basement membrane and mesangial expansion with progression in glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis, which ultimately results in end stage renal failure. Strong associations are consistently found between chronic cigarette smoking and diabetic microvascular complications. A diverse group of studies unveil potential mechanisms that may explain the role of cigarette smoking in the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Tremendous efforts are being made to control smoking mediated progression of diabetic nephropathy, but no promising therapy is yet available. The present review critically discusses the possible detrimental role of chronic cigarette smoking in the progression of diabetic nephropathy and various possible pharmacological interventions to attenuate the exacerbation of diabetic nephropathy.
PMCID: PMC3538984  PMID: 23301120
Smoking; Nicotine; Oxidative stress; Hyperlipidemia; Diabetic nephropathy
20.  Multiphoton spectral microscopy for imaging and quantification of tissue glycation 
Biomedical Optics Express  2010;2(2):218-230.
Tissue glycation from diabetes and aging can result in complications such as renal failure, blindness, nerve damage and vascular diseases. In this work, we applied multiphoton microscopy for imaging and characterizing the extent of tissue glycation. The characteristic features of multiphoton autofluorescence (MPAF) and second harmonic generation (SHG) images as well as MPAF spectra of glycated bovine skin, cornea and aorta were acquired. The analysis of MPAF intensity change accompanying the glycation process shows that collagen is more responsive to the formation of autofluorescent advanced glycation endproducts (AGE) than elastic fibers. Changes in spectral features were also used to estimate the rate of glycation in tissues with intrinsic AF. Our study shows that multiphton imaging may be used for the in vitro investigation of the effects of tissue glycation and that this approach may be used for monitoring AGE formation in the clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC3038438  PMID: 21339868
(120.3890) Medical optics instrumentation; (170.5810) Scanning microscopy; (170.6510) Spectroscopy, tissue diagnostics; (180.4315) Nonlinear microscopy
21.  RAGE signaling mediates post-injury arterial neointima formation by suppression of liver kinase B1 and AMPK activity 
Atherosclerosis  2012;222(2):417-425.
Intima formation involves smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and migration that ultimately drives arterial stenosis, thrombosis, and ischemia in atherosclerosis, hypertension, and arterial revascularization. Receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) is a transmembrane signaling receptor implicated in diabetic renal and vascular complications, and post-injury intima formation, partly via Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) activation. The metabolic super-regulator Adenosine monophosphate kinase (AMPK) inhibits SMC proliferation and intima formation. AMPK activation is promoted by liver kinase B1 (LKB1), and LKB1 inhibits STAT3 activation. Here, we tested the hypothesis that RAGE promotes arterial intima formation by modulating both LKB1 and AMPK.
Methods and Results
RAGE ligands (the calgranulin S100A11, and glycated albumin) suppressed AMPK activation in conjunction with increased proliferation and migration of cultured SMCs. These effects were inhibited both by RAGE deficiency and by prior AMPK activation. In SMCs, RAGE ligands decreased LKB1 activity. Moreover, knockdown of both LKB1 and AMPK were associated with increased STAT3 phosphorylation levels. In response to murine carotid artery ligation, expression of RAGE and S100A11 increased, whereas AMPK and LKB1 activity decreased in situ. Conversely, LKB1 and AMPK activity increased in situ, and neointima formation was attenuated in Rage−/− mice.
The linkage of decreased LKB1 and AMPK activity with increased STAT3 in SMCs mediates the capacity of RAGE ligand-induced signaling to promote neointima formation in response to arterial injury.
PMCID: PMC3361645  PMID: 22552116
RAGE; AMPK; LKB1; Arterial restenosis; Neointimal hyperplasia
22.  Hemoglobin A1c and Arterial and Ventricular Stiffness in Older Adults 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47941.
Arterial and ventricular stiffening are characteristics of diabetes and aging which confer significant morbidity and mortality; advanced glycation endproducts (AGE) are implicated in this stiffening pathophysiology. We examined the association between HbA1c, an AGE, with arterial and ventricular stiffness measures in older individuals without diabetes.
Research Design & Methods
Baseline HbA1c was measured in 830 participants free of diabetes defined by fasting glucose or medication use in the Cardiovascular Health Study, a population-based cohort study of adults aged ≥65 years. We performed cross-sectional analyses using baseline exam data including echocardiography, ankle and brachial blood pressure measurement, and carotid ultrasonography. We examined the adjusted associations between HbA1c and multiple arterial and ventricular stiffness measures by linear regression models and compared these results to the association of fasting glucose (FG) with like measures.
HbA1c was correlated with fasting and 2-hour postload glucose levels (r = 0.21; p<0.001 for both) and positively associated with greater body-mass index and black race. In adjusted models, HbA1c was not associated with any measure of arterial or ventricular stiffness, including pulse pressure (PP), carotid intima-media thickness, ankle-brachial index, end-arterial elastance, or left ventricular mass (LVM). FG levels were positively associated with systolic, diastolic and PP and LVM.
In this sample of older adults without diabetes, HbA1c was not associated with arterial or ventricular stiffness measures, whereas FG levels were. The role of AGE in arterial and ventricular stiffness in older adults may be better assessed using alternate AGE markers.
PMCID: PMC3484154  PMID: 23118911
23.  Dietary Fructose Feeding Increases Adipose Methylglyoxal Accumulation in Rats in Association with Low Expression and Activity of Glyoxalase-2 
Nutrients  2013;5(8):3311-3328.
Methylglyoxal is a precursor to advanced glycation endproducts that may contribute to diabetes and its cardiovascular-related complications. Methylglyoxal is successively catabolized to d-lactate by glyoxalase-1 and glyoxalase-2. The objective of this study was to determine whether dietary fructose and green tea extract (GTE) differentially regulate methylglyoxal accumulation in liver and adipose, mediated by tissue-specific differences in the glyoxalase system. We fed six week old male Sprague-Dawley rats a low-fructose diet (10% w/w) or a high-fructose diet (60% w/w) containing no GTE or GTE at 0.5% or 1.0% for nine weeks. Fructose-fed rats had higher (P < 0.05) adipose methylglyoxal, but GTE had no effect. Plasma and hepatic methylglyoxal were unaffected by fructose and GTE. Fructose and GTE also had no effect on the expression or activity of glyoxalase-1 and glyoxalase-2 at liver or adipose. Regardless of diet, adipose glyoxalase-2 activity was 10.8-times lower (P < 0.05) than adipose glyoxalase-1 activity and 5.9-times lower than liver glyoxalase-2 activity. Adipose glyoxalase-2 activity was also inversely related to adipose methylglyoxal (r = −0.61; P < 0.05). These findings suggest that fructose-mediated adipose methylglyoxal accumulation is independent of GTE supplementation and that its preferential accumulation in adipose compared to liver is due to low constitutive expression of glyoxalase-2.
PMCID: PMC3775256  PMID: 23966111
fructose; glyoxalase I; glyoxalase II; pyruvaldehyde; rats; Sprague-Dawley
24.  Glycoxidative Stress and Cardiovascular Complications in Experimentally-Induced Diabetes: Effects of Antioxidant Treatment 
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common metabolic disease, representing a serious risk factor for the development of cardiovascular complications, such as coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease and hypertension. Oxidative stress (OS), a feature of DM, is defined as an increase in the steady-state levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and may occur as a result of increased free radical generation and/or decreased anti-oxidant defense mechanisms. Increasing evidence indicates that hyperglycemia is the initiating cause of the tissue damage in DM, either through repeated acute changes in cellular glucose metabolism, or through long-term accumulation of glycated biomolecules and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs are formed by the Maillard process, a non-enzymatic reaction between ketone group of the glucose molecule or aldehydes and the amino groups of proteins that contributes to the aging of proteins and to the pathological complications of DM. In the presence of uncontrolled hyperglycemia, the increased formation of AGEs and lipid peroxidation products exacerbate intracellular OS and results in a loss of molecular integrity, disruption in cellular signaling and homeostasis, followed by inflammation and tissue injury such as endothelium dysfunction, arterial stiffening and microvascular complications. In addition to increased AGE production, there is also evidence of multiple pathways elevating ROS generation in DM, including; enhanced glucose auto-oxidation, increased mitochondrial superoxide production, protein kinase C-dependent activation of NADPH oxidase, uncoupled endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity, increased substrate flux through the polyol pathway and stimulation of eicosanoid metabolism. It is, therefore, not surprising that the correction of these variables can result in amelioration of diabetic cardiovascular abnormalities. A linking element between these phenomena is cellular redox imbalance due to glycoxidative stress (GOS). Thus, recent interest has focused on strategies to prevent, reverse or retard GOS in order to modify the natural history of diabetic cardiovascular abnormalities. This review will discuss the links between GOS and diabetes-induced cardiovascular disorders and the effect of antioxidant therapy on altering the development of cardiovascular complications in diabetic animal models.
PMCID: PMC3026340  PMID: 21270942
Glycoxidative stress; glycation; diabetes mellitus; antioxidant; cardiovascular.
25.  AGE restriction in diabetes mellitus: a paradigm shift 
Nature reviews. Endocrinology  2011;7(9):526-539.
Persistently elevated oxidative stress and inflammation precede or occur during the development of type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus and precipitate devastating complications. Given the rapidly increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus and obesity in the space of a few decades, new genetic mutations are unlikely to be the cause, instead pointing to environmental initiators. A hallmark of contemporary culture is a preference for thermally processed foods, replete with pro-oxidant advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). These molecules are appetite-increasing and, thus, efficient enhancers of overnutrition (which promotes obesity) and oxidant overload (which promotes inflammation). Studies of genetic and nongenetic animal models of diabetes mellitus suggest that suppression of host defenses, under sustained pressure from food-derived AGEs, may potentially shift homeostasis towards a higher basal level of oxidative stress, inflammation and injury of both insulin-producing and insulin-responsive cells. This sequence promotes both types of diabetes mellitus. Reducing basal oxidative stress by AGE restriction in mice, without energy or nutrient change, reinstates host defenses, alleviates inflammation, prevents diabetes mellitus, vascular and renal complications and extends normal lifespan. Studies in healthy humans and in those with diabetes mellitus show that consumption of high amounts of food-related AGEs is a determinant of insulin resistance and inflammation and that AGE restriction improves both. This Review focuses on AGEs as novel initiators of oxidative stress that precedes, rather than results from, diabetes mellitus. Therapeutic gains from AGE restriction constitute a paradigm shift.
PMCID: PMC3708644  PMID: 21610689

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