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1.  Exenatide induces aortic vasodilation increasing hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide and nitric oxide production 
Background
It has been reported that GLP-1 agonist exenatide (exendin-4) decreases blood pressure. The dose-dependent vasodilator effect of exendin-4 has previously been demonstrated, although the precise mechanism is not thoroughly described. Here we have aimed to provide in vitro evidence for the hypothesis that exenatide may decrease central (aortic) blood pressure involving three gasotransmitters, namely nitric oxide (NO) carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrogen sulphide (H2S).
Methods
We determined the vasoactive effect of exenatide on isolated thoracic aortic rings of adult rats. Two millimetre-long vessel segments were placed in a wire myograph and preincubated with inhibitors of the enzymes producing the three gasotransmitters, with inhibitors of reactive oxygen species formation, prostaglandin synthesis, inhibitors of protein kinases, potassium channels or with an inhibitor of the Na+/Ca2+-exchanger.
Results
Exenatide caused dose-dependent relaxation of rat thoracic aorta, which was evoked via the GLP-1 receptor and was mediated mainly by H2S but also by NO and CO. Prostaglandins and superoxide free radical also play a part in the relaxation. Inhibition of soluble guanylyl cyclase significantly diminished vasorelaxation. We found that ATP-sensitive-, voltage-gated- and calcium-activated large-conductance potassium channels are also involved in the vasodilation, but that seemingly the inhibition of the KCNQ-type voltage-gated potassium channels resulted in the most remarkable decrease in the rate of vasorelaxation. Inhibition of the Na+/Ca2+-exchanger abolished most of the vasodilation.
Conclusions
Exenatide induces vasodilation in rat thoracic aorta with the contribution of all three gasotransmitters. We provide in vitro evidence for the potential ability of exenatide to lower central (aortic) blood pressure, which could have relevant clinical importance.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-69
PMCID: PMC3976540  PMID: 24693878
Glucagon-like-peptide-1; Exenatide; Vasodilation; Aortic rings; Central blood pressure
2.  Cardiovascular guidelines: separate career may help attenuate controversy 
The release of recent guidelines for high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes in the U.S. has been accompanied by great noise and concerns, both in the academic circuits and the lay press. For persons aged 40 to75 years, with LDL cholesterol levels between 70–189 mg/dL and 7.5% or higher estimated 10-year risk, the peril of a global “statinization” has been advocated, predicting a 70% increase of statin use in this otherwise healthy people. A minority of the Eight Joint National Committee panel disagreed with the recommendation to increase the target systolic blood pressure from 140 to 150 mmHg in persons aged 60 years or older without diabetes mellitus or chronic kidney disease. The 2013-American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists algorithm and consensus statement on diabetes has been criticized with particular concerns about transparency, conflicts of interest, group composition, and the abundant use of personal judgment and experience instead of rigorous methodology. Separate careers for experts who collect evidence from persons who write the actual guidelines seems a good opportunity in order to attenuate the noise associated with release of new guidelines, especially those that counter prior practice.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-66
PMCID: PMC3973351  PMID: 24678917
3.  Gender disparity in LDL-induced cardiovascular damage and the protective role of estrogens against electronegative LDL 
Background
Increased levels of the most electronegative type of LDL, L5, have been observed in the plasma of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction and can induce endothelial dysfunction. Because men have a higher predisposition to developing coronary artery disease than do premenopausal women, we hypothesized that LDL electronegativity is increased in men and promotes endothelial damage.
Methods
L5 levels were compared between middle-aged men and age-matched, premenopausal women with or without MetS. We further studied the effects of gender-influenced LDL electronegativity on aortic cellular senescence and DNA damage in leptin receptor–deficient (db/db) mice by using senescence-associated–β-galactosidase and γH2AX staining, respectively. We also studied the protective effects of 17β-estradiol and genistein against electronegative LDL–induced senescence in cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs).
Results
L5 levels were higher in MetS patients than in healthy subjects (P < 0.001), particularly in men (P = 0.001). LDL isolated from male db/db mice was more electronegative than that from male or female wild-type mice. In addition, LDL from male db/db mice contained abundantly more apolipoprotein CIII and induced more BAEC senescence than did female db/db or wild-type LDL. In the aortas of db/db mice but not wild-type mice, we observed cellular senescence and DNA damage, and the effect was more significant in male than in female db/db mice. Pretreatment with 17β-estradiol or genistein inhibited BAEC senescence induced by male or female db/db LDL and downregulated the expression of lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha protein.
Conclusion
The gender dichotomy of LDL-induced cardiovascular damage may underlie the increased propensity to coronary artery disease in men.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-64
PMCID: PMC3974745  PMID: 24666525
Electronegative low-density lipoprotein; Metabolic syndrome; Cardiovascular disease; Aortic senescence; 17β-estradiol; Genistein
4.  Differential association of visceral adipose tissue with coronary plaque characteristics in patients with and without diabetes mellitus 
Background
Excess visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is closely associated with the presence of coronary artery plaques that are vulnerable to rupture. Patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) have more VAT than patients without DM, but the extent to which VAT contributes to the characteristics of coronary plaques before and after the development of DM is not fully understood.
Methods
We retrospectively evaluated 456 patients (60% male, age 64 ± 16 years) who were suspected to have cardiovascular disease and underwent 64-slice computed tomography angiography (CTA). Seventy-one (16%) patients had vulnerable plaques (CT density < 50 Hounsfield Units, positive remodeling index > 1.05, and adjacent spotty areas of calcification).
Results
Patients were divided into tertiles according to the VAT area. There were stepwise increases in noncalcified and vulnerable plaques with increasing tertiles of VAT area in patients without DM, but not in patients with DM. Multivariate analysis showed that a larger VAT area was significantly associated with a higher risk of vulnerable plaque in patients without DM (odds ratio 3.17, 95% confidence interval 1.08–9.31, p = 0.04), but not in patients with DM.
Conclusions
The VAT area is associated with the characteristics of coronary plaques on CTA in patients without DM, but not in patients with DM. VAT may be a significant cardiometabolic risk factor that is associated with plaque vulnerability before the development of DM. CTA findings may help to improve risk stratification in such patients.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-61
PMCID: PMC3975136  PMID: 24624968
Visceral adipose tissue; Coronary artery disease; Diabetes mellitus
5.  AGEs breaking and antioxidant treatment improves endothelium-dependent dilation without effect on flow-mediated remodeling of resistance arteries in old Zucker diabetic rats 
Background
A chronic increase in blood flow in resistance arteries is associated with increased lumen diameter (outward remodeling) and improved endothelium (NO)-mediated relaxation. Flow-mediated remodeling of resistance arteries is essential for revascularization in ischemic diseases. Nevertheless, it is impaired in 12 to 24-month old rats and in young Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rats due to advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and oxidative stress. As type 2 diabetes occurs preferentially in older subjects we investigated flow-mediated remodeling and the effect of the AGEs breaker ALT-711 associated or not to the antioxidant TEMPOL in one-year old lean (LZ) and ZDF rats.
Methods
Mesenteric resistance arteries were exposed to high (HF) or normal blood flow (NF) in vivo. They were collected after 2 weeks for in vitro analysis.
Results
In LZ rats, diameter expansion did not occur despite a significant increase in blood flow in HF arteries. Nevertheless, endothelium-mediated relaxation was higher in HF than in NF arteries. ALT-711, alone or in combination with TEMPOL, restored outward remodeling in HF arteries in association with AGEs reduction. TEMPOL alone had no effect. ALT-711, TEMPOL or the combination of the 2 drugs did not significantly affect endothelium-mediated relaxation in HF and NF arteries.
In ZDF rats, diameter did not increase despite the increase in blood flow and endothelium-mediated relaxation was further decreased in HF arteries in association with AGEs accumulation and excessive oxidative stress. In both NF and HF arteries, endothelium-mediated relaxation was lower in ZDF than in LZ rats. ALT-711, TEMPOL or their combination did not improve remodeling (diameter equivalent in HF and NF arteries). In parallel, they did not reduce AGEs level and did not improve MMPs activity. Nevertheless, ALT-711 and TEMPOL partly improved endothelium-mediated relaxation through a reduction of oxidative stress and the association of ALT-711 and TEMPOL fully restored relaxation to the level found in LZ rats.
Conclusions
ALT-711 did not improve outward remodeling in mature ZDF rats but it reduced oxidative stress and consequently improved endothelium-dependent relaxation. In mature LZ rats, ALT-711 improved outward remodeling and reduced AGEs level. Consequently, AGEs breaking is differently useful in ageing whether it is associated with diabetes or not.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-55
PMCID: PMC3944955  PMID: 24581152
6.  High glucose induces human endothelial dysfunction through an Axl-dependent mechanism 
Background
The receptor tyrosine kinase Axl and its ligand growth arrest-specific protein 6 (Gas6) are involved in the diabetic vascular disease. The aim of this study was to explore the role of Gas6/Axl system in high glucose (HG)-induced endothelial dysfunction.
Methods
We investigated the effect of various glucose concentrations on Axl signaling in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1 s).
Results
Human plasma Gas6 value inversely correlated with glucose status, endothelial markers. HG decreased Gas6/Axl expression and increased intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) expression in HMEC-1 s. HG significantly decreased HMEC-1 s cell viability and tube formation and promoted monocyte-EC adhesion. Down-regulation of Akt phosphorylation was found in HG culture. Axl transfection significantly reversed HG-induced Akt phosphorylation, VCAM-1 expression and endothelial dysfunction. We also found additive changes in Axl-shRNA-infected HMEC-1 cells in HG culture. Furthermore, Axl overexpression in HMEC-1 s significantly reversed HG-induced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) expression. In addition, significantly lower Axl and VEGFR2 expression in arteries were found in diabetic patients as compared with non-diabetic patients.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates that HG can alter Gas6/Axl signaling and may through Akt and VEGF/VEGFR2 downstream molecules and suggests that Gas6/Axl may involve in HG-induced EC dysfunction.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-53
PMCID: PMC3941696  PMID: 24572151
Diabetes; Endothelial cell; Gas6/Axl
7.  The relationship between serum hypoxia-inducible factor 1α and coronary artery calcification in asymptomatic type 2 diabetic patients 
Background
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), a master regulator of oxygen homeostasis, is a heterodimer consisting of HIF-1α and HIF-1β subunits, and is implicated in calcification of cartilage and vasculature. The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between serum HIF-1α with coronary artery calcification (CAC) in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Methods
The subjects were 405 (262 males, 143 females, age 51.3 ± 6.4 years) asymptomatic patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Serum HIF-1α and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels were measured by ELISA. CAC scores were assessed by a 320-slice CT scanner. The subjects were divided into 4 quartiles depending on serum HIF-1α levels.
Results
Average serum HIF-1α was 184.4 ± 66.7 pg/ml. Among patients with higher CAC scores, HIF-1α levels were also significantly increased (p <0.001). HIF-1α levels positively correlated with CRP, IL-6, UKPDS risk score, HbA1c, FBG, and CACS, but did not correlate with diabetes duration, age, and LDL. According to the multivariate analysis, HIF-1α levels significantly and independently predict the presence of CAC. ROC curve analysis showed that the serum HIF-1α level can predict the extent of CAC, but the specificity was lower than the traditional risk factors UKPDS and HbA1c.
Conclusion
As a marker of hypoxia, serum HIF-1α level may be an independent risk factor for the presence of CAC. These findings indicate that elevated serum HIF-1α may be involved in vascular calcification in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-52
PMCID: PMC3938975  PMID: 24564828
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α; Coronary artery calcification; Atherosclerosis; Type 2 diabetes mellitus
8.  Reduced circulating sTWEAK levels are associated with metabolic syndrome in elderly individuals at high cardiovascular risk 
Background
The circulating soluble TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (sTWEAK) is a cytokine that modulates inflammatory and atherogenic reactions related to cardiometabolic risk. We investigated the association between sTWEAK levels and metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components in older subjects at high cardiovascular risk.
Methods
Cross-sectional analysis of 452 non-diabetic individuals (men and women aged 55–80 years) at high cardiovascular risk. MetS was defined by AHA/NHLBI and IDF criteria. Logistic regression analyses were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) for MetS and its components by tertiles of serum sTWEAK concentrations measured by ELISA.
Results
sTWEAK concentrations were lower in subjects with MetS than in those without. In gender- and age-adjusted analyses, subjects in the lowest sTWEAK tertile had higher ORs for overall MetS [1.71 (95% CI, 1.07-2.72)] and its components abdominal obesity [2.01 (1.15-3.52)], hyperglycemia [1.94 (1.20-3.11)], and hypertriglyceridemia [1.73 (1.05-2.82)] than those in the upper tertile. These associations persisted after controlling for family history of diabetes and premature coronary heart disease, lifestyle, kidney function and other MetS components. sTWEAK concentrations decreased as the number of MetS components increased. Individuals in the lowest vs the upper sTWEAK tertile had an increased risk of disclosing greater number of MetS features. Adjusted ORs for individuals with 2 vs ≤1, 3 vs ≤1, and ≥4 vs ≤ 1 MetS components were 2.60 (1.09-6.22), 2.83 (1.16-6.87) and 6.39 (2.42-16.85), respectively.
Conclusion
In older subjects at high cardiovascular risk, reduced sTWEAK levels are associated with MetS: abdominal obesity, hypertriglyceridemia and hyperglycemia are the main contributors to this association.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-51
PMCID: PMC3974038  PMID: 24565471
sTWEAK; Metabolic syndrome; Cardiovascular risk; Biomarkers; Insulin resistance
9.  Impaired dopamine D1 receptor-mediated vasorelaxation of mesenteric arteries in obese Zucker rats 
Background
Obesity plays an important role in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Renal dopamine D1-like receptor-mediated diuresis and natriuresis are impaired in the obese Zucker rat, an obesity-related hypertensive rat model. The role of arterial D1 receptors in the hypertension of obese Zucker rats is not clear.
Methods
Plasma glucose and insulin concentrations and blood pressure were measured. The vasodilatory response of isolated mesenteric arteries was evaluated using a small vessel myograph. The expression and phosphorylation of D1 receptors were quantified by co-immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting To determine the effect of hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia on the function of the arterial D1 receptor, we studied obese Zucker rats (six to eight-weeks old) fed (6 weeks) vehicle or rosiglitazone, an insulin sensitizer (10 mg/kg per day) and lean Zucker rats (eight to ten-weeks old), fed high-fat diet to induce hyperinsulinemia or injected intraperitoneally with streptomycin (STZ) to induce hyperglycemia.
Results
In obese Zucker rats, the vasorelaxant effect of D1-like receptors was impaired that could be ascribed to decreased arterial D1 receptor expression and increased D1 receptor phosphorylation. In these obese rats, rosiglitazone normalized the arterial D1 receptor expression and phosphorylation and improved the D1-like receptor-mediated vasorelaxation. We also found that D1 receptor-dependent vasorelaxation was decreased in lean Zucker rats with hyperinsulinemia or hyperglycemia but the D1 receptor dysfunction was greater in the former than in the latter group. The ability of insulin and glucose to decrease D1 receptor expression and increase its phosphorylation were confirmed in studies of rat aortic smooth muscle cells.
Conclusions
Both hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia caused D1 receptor dysfunction by decreasing arterial D1 receptor expression and increasing D1 receptor phosphorylation. Impaired D1 receptor-mediated vasorelaxation is involved in the pathogenesis of obesity-related hypertension.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-50
PMCID: PMC3938077  PMID: 24559270
Dopamine D1 receptor; Vasorelaxation; Hyperinsulinemia; Hyperglycemia; Obesity-related hypertension; Obese Zucker rats
10.  Liraglutide decreases carotid intima-media thickness in patients with type 2 diabetes: 8-month prospective pilot study 
Background
Liraglutide, a long-acting glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog, has several non- glycemic properties, but its effect on carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), a recognized marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, is still unknown.
Methods
A prospective study of 8 months duration in 64 patients with type-2 diabetes and no prior history of coronary artery disease evaluated whether adding liraglutide to metformin affects carotid IMT, measured by color doppler ultrasound.
Results
After 8 months, fasting glucose decreased by 2.1 mmol/l and HbA1c by 1.9% (p < 0.01 for all). Liraglutide reduced total-cholesterol and triglycerides by 10%, and LDL-cholesterol by 19%, whereas HDL-cholesterol increased by 18% (p < 0.01 for all lipid changes). Carotid IMT decreased from 1.19 ± 0.47 to 0.94 ± 0.21 mm (p < 0.01). Yet, changes in carotid IMT did not correlate with changes in any other variable studied.
Conclusions
Liraglutide decreases carotid IMT after 8 months treatment independently of its effect on plasma glucose and lipids concentrations.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01715428.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-49
PMCID: PMC3948058  PMID: 24559258
Liraglutide; Carotid intima-media thickness; Cardiovascular risk; Type2 diabetes
11.  Vitamin D and 1-hour post-load plasma glucose in hypertensive patients 
Background
A plasma glucose value ≥155 mg/dl for 1-hour post-load plasma glucose during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is able to identify subjects with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) at high-risk for type-2 diabetes and with subclinical organ damage. We designed this study to address if 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] circulating levels are associated with glucose tolerance status, and in particular with 1-hour post-load plasma glucose levels.
Methods
We enrolled 300 consecutive Caucasian hypertensive never-treated outpatients (160 men and 140 women, aged 52.9 ± 9.2 years). Subjects underwent OGTT and measurements of 25(OH)D and standard laboratory tests. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (e-GFR) was calculated by CKD-EPI formula and insulin sensitivity was assessed by Matsuda-index.
Results
Among participants, 230 were NGT, 44 had impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and 26 had type-2 diabetes. According to 1-h post-load plasma glucose cut-off point of 155 mg/dL, we divided NGT subjects into: NGT < 155 (n = 156) and NGT > 155 mg/dL (n = 74).
NGT ≥ 155 had higher significant fasting and post-load glucose and insulin, parathyroid hormone and hs-CRP levels than NGT < 155. On the contrary, Matsuda-index, e-GFR, and 25(OH)D were significantly lower in NGT ≥ 155 than NGT < 155 subjects. In the multiple regression analysis, 25(OH)D levels resulted the major determinant of 1-h post-load plasma glucose in all population and in the four groups of glucose tolerance status. In the whole population, Matsuda-index, hs-CRP and e-GFR explained another 12.2%, 6.7% and 1.7% of its variation.
Conclusions
Our data demonstrate a significant and inverse relationship between 25(OH)D levels and glucose tolerance status, particularly with 1-h post-load glucose.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-48
PMCID: PMC3931918  PMID: 24555478
Vitamin D; Glucose tolerance; Insulin resistance
12.  Differential transendothelial transport of adiponectin complexes 
Background
Adiponectin’s effects on systemic physiology and cell-specific responses are well-defined, but little is known about how this insulin-sensitizing and anti-inflammatory adipokine reaches its target cells. All molecules face active and passive transport limitations, but adiponectin is particularly noteworthy due to the diverse size range and high molecular weights of its oligomers. Additionally, its metabolic target organs possess a range of endothelial permeability.
Methods
Full-length recombinant murine adiponectin was produced and oligomer fractions isolated by gel filtration. Adiponectin complex sizes were measured by dynamic light scattering to determine Stokes radii. Transendothelial transport of purified oligomers was quantitatively assessed under a number of different conditions in vitro using murine endothelial cells and in vivo using several mouse models of altered endothelial function.
Results
Adiponectin oligomers exhibit large transport radii that limit transendothelial transport. Oligomerization is a significant determinant of flux across endothelial monolayers in vitro; low molecular weight adiponectin is preferentially transported. In vivo sampled sera from the heart, liver, and tail vein demonstrated significantly different complex distribution of lower molecular weight oligomers. Pharmacological interventions, such as PPARγ agonist treatment, differentially affect adiponectin plasma clearance and tissue uptake. Exercise induces enhanced adiponectin uptake to oxidative skeletal muscles, wherein adiponectin potently lowers ceramide levels. In total, endothelial barriers control adiponectin transport in a cell- and tissue-specific manner.
Conclusions
Adiponectin oligomer efficacy in a given tissue may therefore be endothelial transport mediated. Targeting endothelial dysfunction in the metabolic syndrome through exercise and pharmaceuticals may afford an effective approach to increasing adiponectin’s beneficial effects.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-47
PMCID: PMC3932731  PMID: 24552349
Adiponectin; Oligomerization; Endothelium; Ceramide; Exercise
13.  N-Acetylcysteine prevents congenital heart defects induced by pregestational diabetes 
Background
Pregestational diabetes is a major risk factor of congenital heart defects (CHDs). Glutathione is depleted and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production is elevated in diabetes. In the present study, we aimed to examine whether treatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which increases glutathione synthesis and inhibits ROS production, prevents CHDs induced by pregestational diabetes.
Methods
Female mice were treated with streptozotocin (STZ) to induce pregestational diabetes prior to breeding with normal males to produce offspring. Some diabetic mice were treated with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in drinking water from E0.5 to the end of gestation or harvesting of the embryos. CHDs were identified by histology. ROS levels, cell proliferation and gene expression in the fetal heart were analyzed.
Results
Our data show that pregestational diabetes resulted in CHDs in 58% of the offspring, including ventricular septal defect (VSD), atrial septal defect (ASD), atrioventricular septal defects (AVSD), transposition of great arteries (TGA), double outlet right ventricle (DORV) and tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). Treatment with NAC in drinking water in pregestational diabetic mice completely eliminated the incidence of AVSD, TGA, TOF and significantly diminished the incidence of ASD and VSD. Furthermore, pregestational diabetes increased ROS, impaired cell proliferation, and altered Gata4, Gata5 and Vegf-a expression in the fetal heart of diabetic offspring, which were all prevented by NAC treatment.
Conclusions
Treatment with NAC increases GSH levels, decreases ROS levels in the fetal heart and prevents the development of CHDs in the offspring of pregestational diabetes. Our study suggests that NAC may have therapeutic potential in the prevention of CHDs induced by pregestational diabetes.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-46
PMCID: PMC3942143  PMID: 24533448
Pregestational diabetes; Congenital heart defects; N-acetylcysteine; Glutathione; Reactive oxygen species
14.  Thresholds of various glycemic measures for diagnosing diabetes based on prevalence of retinopathy in community-dwelling Japanese subjects: the Hisayama Study 
Background
There has been controversy over the diagnostic thresholds of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) for diabetes. In addition, no study has examined the thresholds of glycated albumin (GA) and 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) for diagnosing diabetes using the presence of diabetic retinopathy (DR). We examined the optimal thresholds of various glycemic measures for diagnosing diabetes based on the prevalence of DR in community-dwelling Japanese subjects.
Methods
A total of 2,681 subjects aged 40-79 years underwent a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test, measurement of HbA1c, GA, and 1,5-AG, and an ophthalmic examination in 2007-2008. The associations of glycemic measures with DR status were examined cross-sectionally. DR was assessed by an examination of the fundus photograph of each eye and graded according to the International Clinical Diabetic Retinopathy Disease Severity Scale. We divided the values of glycemic measures into ten groups on the basis of deciles. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed to determine the optimal threshold of each glycemic measure for detecting the presence of DR.
Results
Of the subjects, 52 had DR. The prevalence of DR increased steeply above the ninth decile for fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (6.2-6.8 mmol/l), for 2-hour postload glucose (PG) (9.2-12.4 mmol/l), for HbA1c (5.9-6.2% [41-44 mmol/mol]), and for GA (16.2-17.5%), and below the second decile for 1,5-AG (9.6-13.5 μg/mL). The ROC curve analysis showed that the optimal thresholds for DR were 6.5 mmol/l for FPG, 11.5 mmol/l for 2-hour PG, 6.1% (43 mmol/mol) for HbA1c, 17.0% for GA, and 12.1 μg/mL for 1,5-AG. The area under the ROC curve (AUC) for 2-hour PG (0.947) was significantly larger than that for FPG (0.908), GA (0.906), and 1,5-AG (0.881), and was marginally significantly higher than that for HbA1c (0.919). The AUCs for FPG, HbA1c, GA, and 1,5-AG were not significantly different.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that the FPG and HbA1c thresholds for diagnosing diabetes in the Japanese population are lower than the current diagnostic criterion, while the 2-hour PG threshold is comparable with the diagnostic criterion. 2-hour PG had the highest discriminative ability, whereas FPG, HbA1c, GA, and 1,5-AG were similar in their ability.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-45
PMCID: PMC3936993  PMID: 24533962
Diagnostic criteria; Hemoglobin A1c; Glycated albumin; 1,5-anhydroglucitol; Fasting plasma glucose; 2-hour postload glucose; Retinopathy
15.  Cardiovascular microRNAs: as modulators and diagnostic biomarkers of diabetic heart disease 
Diabetic heart disease (DHD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among the people with diabetes, with approximately 80% of the deaths in diabetics are due to cardiovascular complications. Importantly, heart disease in the diabetics develop at a much earlier stage, although remaining asymptomatic till the later stage of the disease, thereby restricting its early detection and active therapeutic management. Thus, a better understanding of the modulators involved in the pathophysiology of DHD is necessary for the early diagnosis and development of novel therapeutic implications for diabetes-associated cardiovascular complications. microRNAs (miRs) have recently been evolved as key players in the various cardiovascular events through the regulation of cardiac gene expression. Besides their credible involvement in controlling the cellular processes, they are also released in to the circulation in disease states where they serve as potential diagnostic biomarkers for cardiovascular disease. However, their potential role in DHD as modulators as well as diagnostic biomarkers is largely unexplored. In this review, we describe the putative mechanisms of the selected cardiovascular miRs in relation to cardiovascular diseases and discuss their possible involvement in the pathophysiology and early diagnosis of DHD.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-44
PMCID: PMC3976030  PMID: 24528626
Diabetic heart disease; Subclinical disease; MicroRNA; Cardiac gene expression; Diagnostic biomarkers
16.  Effect of vildagliptin, a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitor, on cardiac hypertrophy induced by chronic beta-adrenergic stimulation in rats 
Background
Heart failure with left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy is often associated with insulin resistance and inflammation. Recent studies have shown that dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) inhibitors improve glucose metabolism and inflammatory status. We therefore evaluated whether vildagliptin, a DPP4 inhibitor, prevents LV hypertrophy and improves diastolic function in isoproterenol-treated rats.
Methods
Male Wistar rats received vehicle (n = 20), subcutaneous isoproterenol (2.4 mg/kg/day, n = 20) (ISO), subcutaneous isoproterenol (2.4 mg/kg/day + oral vildagliptin (30 mg/kg/day, n = 20) (ISO-VL), or vehicle + oral vildagliptin (30 mg/kg/day, n = 20) (vehicle-VL) for 7 days.
Results
Blood pressure was similar among the four groups, whereas LV hypertrophy was significantly decreased in the ISO-VL group compared with the ISO group (heart weight/body weight, vehicle: 3.2 ± 0.40, ISO: 4.43 ± 0.39, ISO-VL: 4.14 ± 0.29, vehicle-VL: 3.16 ± 0.16, p < 0.05). Cardiac catheterization revealed that vildagliptin lowered the elevated LV end-diastolic pressure observed in the ISO group, but other parameters regarding LV diastolic function such as the decreased minimum dp/dt were not ameliorated in the ISO-VL group. Histological analysis showed that vildagliptin attenuated the increased cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and perivascular fibrosis, but it did not affect angiogenesis in cardiac tissue. In the ISO-VL group, quantitative PCR showed attenuation of increased mRNA expression of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6, insulin-like growth factor-l, and restoration of decreased mRNA expression of glucose transporter type 4.
Conclusions
Vildagliptin may prevent LV hypertrophy caused by continuous exposure to isoproterenol in rats.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-43
PMCID: PMC3926272  PMID: 24521405
Cardiac hypertrophy; Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitor; Inflammation; Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction
17.  Vaspin inhibits cytokine-induced nuclear factor-kappa B activation and adhesion molecule expression via AMP-activated protein kinase activation in vascular endothelial cells 
Background
Vaspin is an adipocytokine that was recently identified in the visceral adipose tissue of diabetic rats and has anti-diabetic and anti-atherogenic effects. We hypothesized that vaspin prevents inflammatory cytokine-induced nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in vascular endothelial cells.
Methods
We examined the effects of vaspin on NF-κB activation and the expression of the NF-κB-mediated genes intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), E-selectin, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). Human aortic endothelial cells (HAECS) were used. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) was used as a representative proinflammatory cytokine.
Results
Treatment with vaspin significantly increased the phosphorylation of AMPK and acetyl-CoA carboxylase, the down-stream target of AMPK. Furthermore, treatment with vaspin significantly decreased TNFα-induced activation of NF-κB, as well as the expression of the adhesion molecules ICAM-1, VCAM-1, E-selectin, and MCP-1. These effects were abolished following transfection of AMPKα1-specific small interfering RNA. In an adhesion assay using THP-1 cells, vaspin reduced TNFα-induced adhesion of monocytes to HAECS in an AMPK-dependent manner.
Conclusions
Vaspin might attenuate the cytokine-induced expression of adhesion molecule genes by inhibiting NF-κB following AMPK activation.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-41
PMCID: PMC3925442  PMID: 24517399
Vaspin; Endothelial cells; AMPK; NF-κB; Adhesion molecules
18.  Differential gene expression in Lin-/VEGF-R2+ bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells isolated from diabetic mice 
Background
Diabetes is known to impair the number and function of endothelial progenitor cells in the circulation, causing structural and functional alterations in the micro- and macro-vasculature. The aim of this study was to identify early diabetes-related changes in the expression of genes that have been reported to be closely involved in endothelial progenitor cell migration and function.
Methods
Based on review of current literature, this study examined the expression level of 35 genes that are known to be involved in endothelial progenitor cell migration and function in magnetically sorted Lin-/VEGF-R2+ endothelial progenitor cells obtained from the bone marrow of Akita mice in the early stages of diabetes (18 weeks) using RT-PCR and Western blotting. We used the Shapiro-Wilk and D’Agostino & Pearson Omnibus tests to assess normality. Differences between groups were evaluated by Student’s t-test for normally distributed data (including Welch correction in cases of unequal variances) or Mann–Whitney test for not normally distributed data.
Results
We observed a significant increase in the number of Lin-/VEGF-R2+ endothelial progenitor cells within the bone marrow in diabetic mice compared with non-diabetic mice. Two genes, SDF-1 and SELE, were significantly differentially expressed in diabetic Lin-/VEGF-R2+ endothelial progenitor cells and six other genes, CAV1, eNOS, CLDN5, NANOG, OCLN and BDNF, showed very low levels of expression in diabetic Lin-/VEGF-R2+ progenitor cells.
Conclusion
Low SDF-1 expression may contribute to the dysfunctional mobilization of bone marrow Lin-/VEGF-R2+ endothelial progenitor cells, which may contribute to microvascular injury in early diabetes.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-42
PMCID: PMC3926942  PMID: 24521356
Diabetes; Endothelial progenitor cells; Diabetic vasculopathies; Molecular pathology; SDF-1; Lin-/VEGF-R2+ EPCs; Cardiovascular pathology; Retinopathy
20.  Opposite effects of angiotensins receptors type 2 and type 4 on streptozotocin induced diabetes vascular alterations in mice 
Background
We examined the effect of chronic administration of angiotensin IV (AngIV) on the vascular alterations induced by type 1 diabetes in mice.
Methods
Diabetes was induced in adult Swiss mice with a single injection of streptozotocin (STZ). Mice were treated subcutaneously with AngIV (1.4 mg/kg/day) either immediately following diabetes induction (preventive treatment), or treated with AngIV (0.01 to 1.4 mg/kg), alone or with the AT4 receptor antagonist Divalinal or the AT2 receptor antagonist PD123319, for two weeks after 4 weeks of diabetes duration (rescue treatment). Acetylcholine-induced, endothelium-dependent relaxation (EDR) was measured in isolated aortic rings preparations. Histomorphometric measurements of the media thickness were obtained, and nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide anion production were measured by electron paramagnetic resonance in aorta and mesenteric arteries. The effect of diabetes on mesenteric vascular alterations was also examined in genetically modified mice lacking the AT2 receptor.
Results
Induction of diabetes with STZ was associated with a progressive decrease of EDR and an increase of the aortic and mesenteric media thickness already significant after 4 weeks and peaking at week 6. Immediate treatment with AngIV fully prevented the diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction. Rescue treatment with AngIV implemented after 4 weeks of diabetes dose-dependently restored a normal endothelial function at week 6. AngIV blunted the thickening of the aortic and mesenteric media, and reversed the diabetes-induced changes in NO and O2•– production by the vessels. The protective effect of AngIV on endothelial function was completely blunted by cotreatment with Divalinal, but not with PD123319. In contrast, both the pharmacological blockade and genetic deletion of the AT2 receptor reversed the diabetes-induced morphologic and endothelial alteration caused by diabetes.
Conclusions
The results suggest an opposite contribution of AT2 and AT4 receptors to the vascular alterations caused by streptozotocin-induced diabetes in mice, since chronic stimulation of AT4 by AngIV and inhibition of AT2 similarly reverse diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction and hypertrophic remodeling, and increase NO bioavailability.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-40
PMCID: PMC3931492  PMID: 24511993
Angiotensin IV; AT2 receptor; AT4 receptor; Streptozotocin-induced diabetes; Endothelial dysfunction
21.  Evaluation of carotid artery elasticity changes in patients with type 2 diabetes 
Background
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common causes of cardiovascular disease as it causes arterial stiffness changes. The purpose of this study is to characterize, in vivo, carotid arterial structural and functional changes by applying radio frequency and X-strain ultrasound techniques.
Methods
Ninety-one subjects were assigned into two groups; a diabetes group and a control group. Structural and functional changes in the common carotid arterial wall were investigated by quality intima-media thickness (QIMT), quality arterial stiffness (QAS), and X-strain analysis with a Mylab Twice ultrasound instrument. The relationships among variables between the two groups were analyzed in this study.
Results
There was no significant difference in carotid IMT (626.5 ± 169.1 μm vs. 568.5 ± 122.6 μm, P = 0.1506) between two groups. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) and stiffness index (β) were remarkably greater (8.388 ± 3.254 m/s vs. 7.269 ± 1.332 m/s; 12.51 ± 14.16 vs.9.279 ± 2.871), while compliance coefficient (CC) decreased significantly in the diabetes group (0.802 ± 0.3094 mm2/Kpa vs. 0.968 ± 0.3992 mm2/Kpa) (P < 0.05). The displacement difference of radial (RD-D), longitudinal (LD-D) and rotation (ROT-D) directions were significantly different between two groups’ comparison (P = 0.0212, P = 0.0235 and P = 0.0072, respectively). The time of circumferential peak strain difference (CS-DT) and the time of radial peak strain rate (RSR-T) were found to be significantly different between the two groups (341.9 ± 77.56 ms vs. 369.0 ± 78.26 ms, P = 0.0494; 142.7 ± 22.43 ms vs. 136.2 ± 30.70 ms, P = 0.0474). CS-TD and RSR-T were also found to be positively correlated with CC value (r = 0.3908, P < 0.005 and r = 0.3027, P = 0.0326, respectively). Finally, PWV was negatively correlated with CC with (r = –0.6177, P < 0.001).
Conclusions
In type 2 diabetes, the functional changes in CCA can be identified using the methods presented in this article earlier than the structural changes. Arterial stiffness values provided by QAS and X-strain analysis can be used as indicators of CCA functional lesions in patients with type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-39
PMCID: PMC3932017  PMID: 24506844
Arterial stiffness; Intima-media thickness; Diabetes; Strain
22.  Plasma level of cyclophilin A is increased in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and suggests presence of vascular disease 
Aims/hypothesis
Cyclophilin A, an immunophilin is secreted from human monocytes activated by high glucose. Given its role as an inflammatory mediator of vascular tissue damage associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, we examined plasma levels of cyclophilin A in normal healthy volunteers and patients with type 2 diabetes (DM), with or without coronary artery disease (CAD).
Methods
Study subjects comprised of 212 patients with DM and CAD,101 patients with diabetes, 122 patients with CAD and 121 normal healthy volunteers. Diabetes was assessed by HbA1c levels while coronary artery disease was established by a positive treadmill test and/or coronary angiography. Plasma cyclophilin A was measured using a cyclophilin A ELISA Kit. Relationship of plasma cyclophilin A levels with blood markers of type 2 diabetes, blood lipid levels and medication for diabetes and coronary artery disease were also explored.
Results
Plasma Cyclophilin levels were higher in diabetes patients with or without CAD compared to normal subjects (P < 0.001). Age, fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1C levels were positively associated with increased plasma cyclophilin. Patients using metformin had reduced levels of plasma cyclophilin (p < 0.001).Serum levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides had no significant association with plasma cyclophilin levels. In patients with increased serum CRP levels, plasma cyclophilin A was also elevated (p = 0.016). Prevalence odds for DM, DM + CAD and CAD are higher in those with high cyclophilin values, compared to those with lower values, after adjusting for age and sex, indicating strong association of high cyclophilin values with diabetes and vascular disease.
Conclusions/interpretations
Our study demonstrates that patients with type 2 diabetes have higher circulating levels of cyclophilin A than the normal population. Plasma cyclophilin levels were increased in patients with diabetes and coronary artery disease suggesting a role of this protein in accelerating vascular disease in type 2 diabetes. Considering the evidence that Cyclophilin A is an inflammatory mediator in atherogenesis, the mechanistic role of cyclophilin A in diabetic vascular disease progression deserves detailed investigation.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-38
PMCID: PMC3922405  PMID: 24502618
Hyperglycemia; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Monocytes; Cyclophilin A; Vascular disease
23.  Kir6.2-containing ATP-sensitive K+ channel is required for cardioprotection of resveratrol in mice 
Background
Resveratrol is a natural compound that affects energy metabolism and is also known to possess an array of cardioprotective effects. However, its overall effects on energy metabolism and the underlying mechanism involved in cardioprotection require further investigation. Herein we hypothesize that ATP-sensitive potassium (K-ATP) channels as molecular sensors of cellular metabolism may mediate the cardioprotective effects of resveratrol.
Methods
Kir6.2 knockout, Kir6.1 heterozygous and wild-type (WT) mice were subjected to ischemia/reperfusion injury and were injected with resveratrol (10 mg/kg, i.p). Myocardial infarct size, serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and creatine kinase (CK) activities were determined. Neonatal cardiomyocytes were used in in vitro assays to investigate the underlying mechanism of resveratrol in cardioprotection.
Results
Resveratrol treatment significantly reduced myocardial infarct size and serum LDH and CK activity and inhibited oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation – induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis in WT and Kir6.1 heterozygous mice, but Kir6.2 deficiency can abolish the cardioprotective effects of resveratrol in vivo and in vitro. We further found that resveratrol enhanced 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation and promoted the association of AMPK with Kir6.2. Suppression of AMPK attenuated and activation of AMPK mimicked the cardioprotective effects of resveratrol in cardiomyocytes. Notably, Kir6.2 knockout also reversed the cardioprotection of AMPK activator.
Conclusions
Our study demonstrates that resveratrol exerts cardioprotective effects through AMPK -Kir6.2/K-ATP signal pathway and Kir6.2-containing K-ATP channel is required for cardioprotection of resveratrol.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-35
PMCID: PMC3916794  PMID: 24498880
Resveratrol; ATP-sensitive potassium channel; Kir6.2; Myocardial Ischemia/reperfusion; 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase
24.  Extracellular vesicle markers in relation to obesity and metabolic complications in patients with manifest cardiovascular disease 
Background
Alterations in extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and microparticles, contribute to cardiovascular disease. We hypothesized that obesity could favour enhanced release of EVs from adipose tissue, and thereby contribute to cardiovascular risk via obesity-induced metabolic complications. The objectives of this study were: 1) to investigate the relation between the quantity, distribution and (dys) function of adipose tissue and plasma concentrations of atherothrombotic EV-markers; 2) to determine the relation between these EV-markers and the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome; and 3) to assess the contribution of EV markers to the risk of incident type 2 diabetes.
Methods
In 1012 patients with clinically manifest vascular disease, subcutaneous and visceral fat thickness was measured ultrasonographically. Plasma EVs were isolated and levels of cystatin C, serpin G1, serpin F2 and CD14 were measured, as well as fasting metabolic parameters, hsCRP and adiponectin. The association between adiposity, EV-markers, and metabolic syndrome was tested by multivariable linear and logistic regression analyses. As sex influences body fat distribution, sex-stratified analyses between adipose tissue distribution and EV-markers were performed. The relation between EV-markers and type 2 diabetes was assessed with Cox regression analyses.
Results
Higher levels of hsCRP (β 5.59; 95% CI 3.00–8.18) and lower HDL-cholesterol levels (β-11.26; 95% CI −18.39 – -4.13) were related to increased EV-cystatin C levels, and EV-cystatin C levels were associated with a 57% higher odds of having the metabolic syndrome (OR 1.57; 95% CI 1.19–2.27). HDL-cholesterol levels were positively related to EV-CD14 levels (β 5.04; 95% CI 0.07–10.0), and EV-CD14 levels were associated with a relative risk reduction of 16% for development of type 2 diabetes (HR 0.84, 95% CI 0.75–0.94), during a median follow up of 6.5 years in which 42 patients developed type 2 diabetes.
Conclusions
In patients with clinically manifest vascular disease, EV-cystatin C levels were positively related, and EV-CD14 levels were negatively related to metabolic complications of obesity.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-37
PMCID: PMC3918107  PMID: 24498934
Extracellular vesicle markers; Obesity; hsCRP; Metabolic syndrome; Type 2 diabetes
25.  Changes in liraglutide-induced body composition are related to modifications in plasma cardiac natriuretic peptides levels in obese type 2 diabetic patients 
Background and aims
Liraglutide treatment can improve glycemic control with a concomitant weight loss, but the underlying mechanism on weight loss is not completely understood. Cardiac natriuretic peptides (NPs) can resist body fat accumulation through increasing adipocytes lypolysis. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that liraglutide-induced weight loss was associated with increased plasma NPs concentrations.
Methods
Thirty-one outpatients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) treated with metformin and other oral antidiabetic drugs except for thiazolidinediones (TZDs) were subcutaneously administered with liraglutide for 12 weeks. Body composition, abdominal visceral adipose tissue areas (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue areas (SAT) were assessed at pre- and post-treatment by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning and abdominal computerized tomography (CT). Plasma atrial natriuretic peptides (ANP) and B-type ventricular natriuretic peptides (BNP) concentrations were tested by commercial ELISA Kit quantitatively.
Results
Following 12-week liraglutide treatment, body weight, waist circumference, total fat and lean mass, fat percentage, SAT and VAT areas were significantly reduced from baseline. Concurrently, plasma ANP and BNP levels were significantly increased following 12-week liraglutide treatment. There were significant correlations between the reductions in body compositions and the increases in both plasma ANP and BNP levels.
Conclusions
There were significant correlations between increases in both plasma ANP and BNP levels and changes in liraglutide-induced body composition. Our data implied that increases in plasma NPs may add a novel dimension to explain how liraglutide induces weight loss.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-36
PMCID: PMC3923001  PMID: 24498905
Liraglutide; Body composition; Weight loss; Cardiac natriuretic peptides

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