INTRODUCTION: Endothelium-dependent dilation is improved in insulin-treated diabetic patients, but this effect is probably due to improved glycemic control. The objective of the present study was to compare endothelium-dependent dilation in patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes who are or are not using insulin as part of their therapy. METHODS: We studied 27 patients with type 2 diabetes (11 women, 60.3 years ± 6 years, with HbA1c < 7% and no nephropathy), including 16 patients treated with anti-diabetic agents (No-Ins, 8 women) and 11 patients treated with insulin alone or in combination with anti-diabetic agents (Ins, 3 women). Endothelial function was evaluated by the dorsal hand vein technique, which measures changes in vein diameter in response to phenylephrine, acetylcholine (endothelium-dependent vasodilation) and sodium nitroprusside (endothelium-independent vasodilation). RESULTS: Age, systolic blood pressure (No-Ins: 129.4 mmHg ± 11.8 mmHg, Ins: 134.8 mmHg ± 12.0 mmHg; P= 0.257), HbA1c, lipids and urinary albumin excretion rate [No-Ins: 9 mg/24 h (0-14.1 mg/24 h) vs. Ins: 10.6 mg/24 h (7.5-14.4 mg/24 h), P=0.398] were similar between groups. There was no difference between endothelium-dependent vasodilation of the No-Ins group (59.3% ± 26.5%) vs. the Ins group (54.0% ± 16.3%; P=0.526). Endothelium-independent vasodilation was also similar between the No-Ins (113.7% ± 35.3%) and Ins groups (111.9% ± 28.5%; P=0.888). CONCLUSIONS: Subcutaneous insulin therapy does not interfere with venous endothelial function in type 2 diabetes when glycemic and blood pressure control are stable
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