Microvascular Dysfunction Is Associated With a Higher Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Dennis M. J. Muris, Alfons J. H. M. Houben, Miranda T. Schram, Coen D. A. Stehouwer*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective-Recent data support the hypothesis that microvascular dysfunction may be a potential mechanism in the development of insulin resistance. We examined the association of microvascular dysfunction with incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and impaired glucose metabolism by reviewing the literature and conducting a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies on this topic. Methods and Results-We searched Medline and Embase for articles published up to October 2011. Prospective cohort studies that focused on microvascular measurements in participants free of T2DM a baseline were included. Pooled relative risks were calculated using random effects models. Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria for this meta-analysis. These studies focused on T2DM or impaired fasting glucose, not on impaired glucose tolerance. The pooled relative risks for incident T2DM (3846 cases) was 1.25 (95% confidence interval, 1.15; 1.36) per 1 SD greater microvascular dysfunction when all estimates of microvascular dysfunction were combined. In analyses of single estimates of microvascular dysfunction, the pooled relative risks for incident T2DM was 1.49 (1.36; 1.64) per 1 SD higher plasma soluble E-selectin levels; 1.21(1.11; 1.31) per 1 SD higher plasma soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 levels; 1.48 (1.03; 2.12) per 1 SD lower response to acetylcholine-mediated peripheral vascular reactivity; 1.18 (1.08; 1.29) per 1 SD lower retinal arteriole-to-venule ratio; and 1.43 (1.33; 1.54) per 1 logarithmically transformed unit higher albumin-to-creatinine ratio. In addition, the pooled relative risks for incident impaired fasting glucose (409 cases) was 1.15 (1.01-1.31) per 1 SD greater retinal venular diameters. Conclusion-These data indicate that various estimates of microvascular dysfunction were associated with incident T2DM and, possibly, impaired fasting glucose, suggesting a role for the microcirculation in the pathogenesis of T2DM. (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012;32:3082-3094.)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3082-3094
JournalArteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • diabetes mellitus
  • meta-analysis
  • microcirculation

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