Objectives: We sought to determine whether endothelial vasodilator function (EVF) in patients with type 1 diabetes was related to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particle size (LDLPS), LDL vitamin E content (LDLVE) or the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation (OxLDL).
Background: Impaired EVF is an early feature of diabetic vascular disease and may be related to oxidant stress. Although small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL are features of type 2 diabetes and predict the development of coronary artery disease, their role in type 1 diabetes is less clear.
Methods: Endothelium-dependent vasodilation was assessed in the brachial artery (flow-mediated vasodilation [FMD]) and in the forearm resistance circulation using venous occlusion plethysmography in response to graded doses of intrabrachial acetylcholine (ACh). Thirty-seven patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) and 45 matched controls underwent flow-mediated dilation, while a subset of 19 DM and 20 controls underwent plethysmography.
Results: Total, LDL and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or triglycerides were not different in DM compared with controls, but LDLPS was smaller (25.6 +/- 0.06 vs. 26.1 +/- 0.1 nm, p < 0.05) and LDLVE was reduced (2.0 +/- 0.25 vs. 2.6 +/- 0.18 micromol/mmol LDL, p < 0.05). Oxidative susceptibility of LDL was not different. Flow-mediated vasodilation was impaired in DM compared with controls (3.6 +/- 0.6% vs. 7.1 +/- 0.5%, p < 0.005), as was the vasodilator response to ACh (p < 0.05). Flow-mediated vasodilation was directly related to LDLPS and LDLVE in both the entire study cohort and DM alone (p < 0.05), but not to other parameters of the standard lipid profile. Similarly, endothelium-dependent vasodilation in the resistance circulation was directly related to LDLPS and LDLVE, but not to OxLDL.
Conclusion: These results suggest, but do not prove, that LDL particle size and LDL vitamin E may be determinants of conduit and resistance vessel endothelial vasodilator function in type 1 diabetes. Further work will be required to prove cause and effect.