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1.  Differential impact of subclinical carotid artery disease on cerebral structure and functioning in type 1 diabetes patients with versus those without proliferative retinopathy 
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is associated with cerebral compromise, typically found in patients with microangiopathy. Associations between subclinical macroangiopathy and the brain, whether or not in the presence of microangiopathy, have not been fully explored in T1DM. We hypothesized that subclinical macroangiopathy in adult T1DM may affect the brain and interacts with microangiopathy.
In 51 asymptomatic T1DM patients with, 53 without proliferative retinopathy and 51 controls, right common carotid artery ultrasound was used to assess intima media thickness (cIMT) and distensibility (cD). Neuropsychological tests for cognitive functions, and magnetic resonance imagining for white matter integrity and functional connectivity, i.e. neuronal communication, were used.
After correction for confounders, cIMT was borderline significantly increased in all T1DM patients (P = 0.071), whereas cD was not statistically significantly altered (P = 0.45). Patients with proliferative retinopathy showed the largest increase in cIMT and decrease in cD. In all participants, after adjustment for confounders, increased cIMT was related to decreased white matter integrity (β = −0.198 P = 0.041) and decreased functional connectivity in visual areas (β = −0.195 P = 0.046). For cognition, there was a significant interaction between cIMT and the presence of proliferative retinopathy after adjustment for confounding factors (all P < 0.05). Increased cIMT was associated with lower general cognitive ability (β = −0.334; P = 0.018), information processing speed (β = −0.361; P = 0.010) and attention (β = −0.394; P = 0.005) scores in patients without, but not in patients with proliferative retinopathy.
These findings suggest that subclinical macroangiopathy may be a factor in the development of diabetes-related cognitive changes in uncomplicated T1DM, whereas in patients with advanced T1DM, proliferative retinopathy may rather be the driving force of cerebral compromise.
PMCID: PMC3995631  PMID: 24620788
Type 1 diabetes; Cognition; Subclinical macroangiopathy; Microangiopathy; Neuroimaging; Cognition
2.  Activin a is associated with impaired myocardial glucose metabolism and left ventricular remodeling in patients with uncomplicated type 2 diabetes 
Activin A released from epicardial adipose tissue has been linked to contractile dysfunction and insulin resistance in cardiomyocytes. This study investigated the role of activin A in clinical diabetic cardiomyopathy by assessing whether circulating activin A levels associate with cardiometabolic parameters in men with uncomplicated type 2 diabetes (T2D), and the effects of treatment with pioglitazone versus metformin on these associations.
Seventy-eight men with uncomplicated T2D and fourteen healthy men with comparable age were included, in this randomized, double-blind, active comparator intervention study. All T2D men were on glimipiride monotherapy, and randomized to a 24-week intervention with either pioglitazone or metformin. Cardiac dimensions and -function were measured using magnetic resonance imaging, whilst myocardial glucose metabolism (MMRglu) was determined using [18F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp.
Circulating activin A levels were comparable in T2D men and controls. Activin A levels were independently inversely associated with MMRglu, and positively with left ventricular mass/volume (LVMV)-ratio in T2D men. Intervention with metformin decreased activin A levels, whereas pioglitazone did not alter activin A levels. The changes in plasma activin A levels were not correlated with the changes in MMRglu following either pioglitazone or metformin treatment. A borderline significant correlation (p = 0.051) of changes in plasma activin A levels and changes in LVMV-ratio was observed after pioglitazone treatment.
Circulating activin A levels are associated with impaired myocardial glucose metabolism and high LVMV-ratio in patients with uncomplicated T2D, reflecting a potential detrimental role in early human diabetic cardiomyopathy.
Trial registration number
Current Controlled Trials SRCTN53177482
PMCID: PMC4015886  PMID: 24134550
Activin A; Myocardial glucose metabolism; Cardiac remodeling; Diabetic cardiomyopathy
3.  Cardiometabolic risk variables in overweight and obese children: a worldwide comparison 
The growing prevalence rate of pediatric obesity, which is frequently accompanied by several cardiometabolic risk factors, has become a serious global health issue. To date, little is known regarding differences for cardiometabolic risk factors (prevalence and means) in children from different countries. In the present review, we aimed to provide a review for the available evidence regarding cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight pediatric populations. We therefore provided information with respect to the prevalence of impaired fasting glucose/impaired glucose tolerance, high triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol and hypertension (components of the metabolic syndrome) among cohorts from different countries. Moreover, we aimed to compare the means of glucose and lipid levels (triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol) and systolic/diastolic blood pressure values. After careful selection of articles describing cohorts with comparable age and sex, it was shown that both prevalence rates and mean values of cardiometabolic risk factors varied largely among cohorts of overweight children. After ranking for high/low means for each cardiometabolic risk parameter, Dutch-Turkish children and children from Turkey, Hungary, Greece, Germany and Poland were in the tertile with the most unfavorable risk factor profile overall. In contrast, cohorts from Norway, Japan, Belgium, France and the Dominican Republic were in the tertile with most favorable risk profile. These results should be taken with caution, given the heterogeneity of the relatively small, mostly clinical cohorts and the lack of information concerning the influence of the values of risk parameters on true cardiometabolic outcome measures in comparable cohorts. The results of our review present a fair estimation of the true differences between cardiometabolic risk profiles among pediatric cohorts worldwide, based on available literature.
PMCID: PMC3258193  PMID: 22114790
4.  Association of plasma osteoprotegerin and adiponectin with arterial function, cardiac function and metabolism in asymptomatic type 2 diabetic men 
Osteoprotegerin (OPG), a soluble member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, is linked to cardiovascular disease. Negative associations exist between circulating OPG and cardiac function. The adipocytokine adiponectin (ADPN) is downregulated in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and coronary artery disease and shows an inverse correlation with insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular disease risk. We assessed the relationship of plasma OPG and ADPN and arterial function, cardiac function and myocardial glucose metabolism in T2DM.
We included 78 asymptomatic men with uncomplicated, well-controlled T2DM, without inducible ischemia, assessed by dobutamine-stress echocardiography, and 14 age-matched controls. Cardiac function was measured by magnetic resonance imaging, myocardial glucose metabolism (MMRglu) by 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography. OPG and ADPN levels were measured in plasma.
T2DM patients vs. controls showed lower aortic distensibility, left ventricular (LV) volumes, impaired LV diastolic function and MMRglu (all P < 0.05). In T2DM men vs. controls, OPG levels were higher (P = 0.02), whereas ADPN concentrations were decreased (P = 0.04). OPG correlated inversely with aortic distensibility, LV volumes and E/A ratio (diastolic function), and positively with LV mass/volume ratio (all P < 0.05). Regression analyses showed the associations with aortic distensibility and LV mass/volume ratio to be independent of age-, blood pressure- and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). However, the associations with LV volumes and E/A ratio were dependent of these parameters. ADPN correlated positively with MMRglu (P < 0.05), which, in multiple regression analysis, was dependent of whole-body insulin sensitivity, HbA1c and waist.
OPG was inversely associated with aortic distensibility, LV volumes and LV diastolic function, while ADPN was positively associated with MMRglu. These findings indicate that in asymptomatic men with uncomplicated T2DM, OPG and ADPN may be markers of underlying mechanisms linking the diabetic state to cardiac abnormalities.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN53177482
PMCID: PMC3157422  PMID: 21771299
osteoprotegerin; adiponectin; type 2 diabetes mellitus; arterial function; cardiac function; myocardial metabolism
5.  Diabetic cardiomyopathy in Zucker diabetic fatty rats: the forgotten right ventricle 
In patients with myocardial infarction or heart failure, right ventricular (RV) dysfunction is associated with death, shock and arrhythmias. In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, structural and functional alterations of the left ventricle (LV) are highly prevalent, however, little is known about the impact of diabetes on RV characteristics. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether LV changes are paralleled by RV alterations in a rat model of diabetes.
Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) and control (ZL) rats underwent echocardiography and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning using [18F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose under hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp conditions. Glucose, insulin, triglycerides and fatty acids were assessed from trunk blood. Another group of rats received an insulin or saline injection to study RV insulin signaling.
ZDF rats developed hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinaemia and dyslipidaemia (all p < 0.05). Echocardiography revealed depressed LV fractional shortening and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) in ZDF vs. ZL rats (both p < 0.05). A decrease in LV and RV insulin-mediated glucose utilisation was found in ZDF vs. ZL rats (both p < 0.05). LV associated with RV with respect to systolic function (r = 0.86, p < 0.05) and glucose utilisation (r = 0.74, p < 0.05). TAPSE associated with RV MRglu (r = 0.92, p < 0.05) and M-value (r = 0.91, p < 0.0001) and RV MRglu associated with M-value (r = 0.77, p < 0.05). Finally, reduced RV insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt was found in ZDF vs. ZL (p < 0.05).
LV changes were paralleled by RV alterations in insulin-stimulated glucose utilisation and RV systolic function in a rat model of diabetes, which may be attributed to ventricular interdependence as well as to the uniform effect of diabetes. Since diabetic patients are prone to develop diabetic cardiomyopathy and myocardial ischaemia, it might be suggested that RV dysfunction plays a central role in cardiac abnormalities in this population.
PMCID: PMC2898761  PMID: 20550678
6.  Altered myocardial substrate metabolism is associated with myocardial dysfunction in early diabetic cardiomyopathy in rats: studies using positron emission tomography 
In vitro data suggest that changes in myocardial substrate metabolism may contribute to impaired myocardial function in diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM). The purpose of the present study was to study in a rat model of early DCM, in vivo changes in myocardial substrate metabolism and their association with myocardial function.
Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) and Zucker lean (ZL) rats underwent echocardiography followed by [11C]palmitate positron emission tomography (PET) under fasting, and [18F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose PET under hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp conditions. Isolated cardiomyocytes were used to determine isometric force development.
PET data showed a 66% decrease in insulin-mediated myocardial glucose utilisation and a 41% increase in fatty acid (FA) oxidation in ZDF vs. ZL rats (both p < 0.05). Echocardiography showed diastolic and systolic dysfunction in ZDF vs. ZL rats, which was paralleled by a significantly decreased maximal force (68%) and maximal rate of force redevelopment (69%) of single cardiomyocytes. Myocardial functional changes were significantly associated with whole-body insulin sensitivity and decreased myocardial glucose utilisation. ZDF hearts showed a 68% decrease in glucose transporter-4 mRNA expression (p < 0.05), a 22% decrease in glucose transporter-4 protein expression (p = 0.10), unchanged levels of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase-4 protein expression, a 57% decreased phosphorylation of AMP activated protein kinase α1/2 (p < 0.05) and a 2.4-fold increased abundance of the FA transporter CD36 to the sarcolemma (p < 0.01) vs. ZL hearts, which are compatible with changes in substrate metabolism. In ZDF vs. ZL hearts a 2.4-fold reduced insulin-mediated phosphorylation of Akt was found (p < 0.05).
Using PET and echocardiography, we found increases in myocardial FA oxidation with a concomitant decrease of insulin-mediated myocardial glucose utilisation in early DCM. In addition, the latter was associated with impaired myocardial function. These in vivo data expand previous in vitro findings showing that early alterations in myocardial substrate metabolism contribute to myocardial dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC2722582  PMID: 19624828
7.  Ethnic differences in cardiometabolic risk profile in an overweight/obese paediatric cohort in the Netherlands: a cross-sectional study 
Differences in prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors between different ethnic groups are largely unknown. We determined the variation in cardiometabolic risk profile according to ethnicity in a cohort overweight/obese Dutch children.
An oral glucose tolerance test was performed in 516 overweight/obese Dutch children of multi-ethnic origin, attending an obesity out-patient clinic of an urban general hospital (mean age 10.6 ± 3.2; 55.2% boys). Anthropometric parameters and blood samples were collected, and the prevalence of (components of) the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and insulin resistance were determined in each ethnic group.
Major ethnic groups were Dutch native (18.4%), Turkish (28.1%), and Moroccan (25.8%). The remaining group (27.7%) consisted of children with other ethnicities. Turkish children had the highest mean standardized BMI compared to Dutch native children (P < 0.05). As compared to Moroccan children, they had a higher prevalence of MetS (22.8% vs. 12.8%), low HDL-cholesterol (37.9% vs. 25.8%), hypertension (29.7% vs. 18.0%) and insulin resistance (54.9% vs. 37.4%, all P < 0.05). Although Turkish children also had higher prevalences of forementioned risk factors than Dutch native children, these differences were not statistically significant. Insulin resistance was associated with MetS in the Turkish and Moroccan subgroup (OR 6.6; 95%CI, 2.4–18.3 and OR 7.0; 95%CI, 2.1–23.1, respectively).
In a Dutch cohort of overweight/obese children, Turkish children showed significantly higher prevalences of cardiometabolic risk factors relative to their peers of Moroccan descent. The prospective value of these findings needs to be established as this may warrant the need for differential ethnic-specific preventive measures.
PMCID: PMC2642775  PMID: 19152682

Results 1-7 (7)