Background: Experimental research indicates that oxidative stress is implicated in aging and in the pathogenesis of diabetes and its complications. This evidence is limited in elderly patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes, in which age- and disease-related production of reactive oxygen species might exert synergistic damaging effects on tissues and organs.
Methods: Plasma levels of lipid-soluble compounds with antioxidant properties including vitamin A, vitamin E and carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, alpha- and beta-carotene) were measured by HPLC in 72 elderly patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes (75.7+/-0.8 years, 40 F, 32 M) and in 75 age-matched controls (77.2+/-1.2 years, 48 F, 27 M).
Results: All compounds measured were significantly lower in plasma from diabetic patients as compared to controls (p<0.0001). Plasma levels of vitamins A and E and of carotenoids did not significantly correlate with dietary intake and lipid profile in both groups. In patients, significant inverse correlations were found between age and levels of vitamin E, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and beta-carotene.
Conclusions: We conclude that patients of very old age with Type 2 diabetes show a poor plasma status of vitamins A and E and carotenoids, which negatively correlates with age. Further studies are needed to explore the possible therapeutic role of lipid-soluble vitamin supplements in elderly diabetic subjects.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.