Microvascular abnormalities are one of the most important causes of persistent diabetic complications. The aim of this study was to compare microvascular changes examined by nailfold capillaroscopy with serum concentrations of soluble E-selectin (sE-selectin) and IL-18 in type 1 diabetic patients with and without microangiopathy. Serum levels of sE-selectin and IL-18 were determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 106 patients with type 1 diabetes and in 40 healthy controls. All diabetic patients were evaluated by extensive clinical, laboratory and capillaroscopic studies. Morphological changes were observed by nailfold capillaroscopy in 86 out of 106 (81%) diabetic patients. Severe capillaroscopic changes were seen in 32 out of 54 (59%) patients with microangiopathy, but in only seven out of 52 (13%) patients without microangiopathy. Higher serum levels of sE-selectin (p < 0.001) and IL-18 (p < 0.05) were demonstrated in diabetic patients compared to controls. Significant differences of sE-selectin (p < 0.001) and IL-18 (p < 0.01) serum concentrations were observed between diabetic patients with microangiopathy and controls. Moreover, comparison between patients with and without microangiopathic complications showed a significantly higher capillaroscopic score and sE-selectin serum concentration in the group with microangiopathy (p < 0.001). Furthermore, diabetic patients with severe microvascular changes in capillaroscopy showed significantly higher IL-18 (p < 0.001) and sE-selectin (p < 0.05) serum levels than subgroups without changes or with mild abnormalities. Our findings suggest that abnormalities in nailfold capillaroscopy may reflect the extent of microvascular involvement and are associated with higher sE-selectin and IL-18 serum levels, as well as with microangiopathic complications in diabetic patients. <i>(Folia Histochemica et Cytobiologica 2011; Vol. 49, No. 1, pp. 104&#8211;110
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