Endothelium-dependent vasodilatation, plasma markers of endothelial function, and adrenergic vasoconstrictor responses in type 1 diabetes under near-normoglycemic conditions.
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It is unknown whether and to what extent changes in various endothelial functions and adrenergic responsiveness are related to the development of microvascular complications in type 1 diabetes. Therefore, endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasodilatation, endothelium-dependent hemostatic factors, and one and two adrenergic vasoconstrictor responses were determined in type 1 patients with and without microvascular complications. A total of 34 patients with type 1 diabetes were studied under euglycemic conditions on two occasions (11 without microangiopathy, 10 with proliferative and preproliferative retinopathy previously treated by laser coagulation, 13 with microalbuminuria, and 12 healthy volunteers also were studied). Forearm vascular responses to brachial artery infusions of N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), sodium nitroprusside, acetylcholine (ACh), clonidine, and phenylephrine were determined. The ACh infusions were repeated during coinfusion of L-arginine. Furthermore, plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) activity, tissue plasminogen activator antigen levels, von Willebrand factor antigen levels, tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) activity, and endothelin-1 levels were measured. No differences in endothelium-dependent or endothelium-independent vasodilatation or adrenergic constriction were observed between the diabetic patients and the healthy volunteers. In comparison to the first ACh infusion, the maximal response to repeated ACh during L-arginine administration was reduced in the diabetic patients, except in the patients with proliferative and preproliferative retinopathy previously treated by laser coagulation. In these patients, the combined infusion of L-arginine and ACh resulted in an enhanced response. TFPI activity was elevated, and PAI-1 activity was reduced in the type 1 diabetic patients. Furthermore, PAI-1 activity was positively correlated with urinary albumin excretion (r = 0.48, P < 0.01) and inversely correlated with the vasodilatory response to the highest ACh dose (r = -0.37, P < 0.05). The response to the highest ACh and L-NMMA dose were positively correlated with mean arterial blood pressure (r = 0.32, P < 0.01; r = 0.41, P < 0.01, respectively). Forearm endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasodilatation and adrenergic responsiveness were unaltered in type 1 diabetic patients with and without microvascular complications. Relative to healthy control subjects, endothelium-dependent vasodilatation was depressed during a repeated ACh challenge (with L-arginine coinfusion) in the diabetic patients without complications or with microalbuminuria. In contrast, this vasodilatation was enhanced in the patients with retinopathy. Elevation of TFPI was the most consistent marker of endothelial damage of all the endothelial markers measured.