Atherosclerosis of carotid arteries and the ace insertion/deletion polymorphism in subjects with diabetes mellitus type 2

Int Angiol. 2002 Mar;21(1):63-9.


Background: The aim of the present study was to investigate the association of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism with the ultrasonographically evaluated severity and characteristics of carotid artery atherosclerosis in subjects with diabetes mellitus type 2.

Methods: We assessed 184 subjects with diabetes mellitus type 2, 75 males and 109 females, mean age 61.4+/-7.7 years. All subjects were receiving oral antidiabetic drugs for glycemic control and were free of cardiovascular events. The ACE genotype was analyzed by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. The ultrasonographic examination of the carotid arteries was performed in both B-mode imaging and Doppler ultrasound. The common carotid artery intima-media thickness was assessed 15-20 mm proximal to the dilatation of the carotid bulb. The atheromatous lesions were classified according to their echogenic characteristics as predominantly echolucent, mixed and predominantly echogenic with under 30, 30-70 and over 70% of the total plaque area echogenicity, respectively.

Results: From the total cohort 29 (15.8%) subjects had the II, 86 (46.7%) the ID and 69 (37.5%) the DD ACE genotypes. The mean carotid artery diameter stenosis was 37+/-17%, 43+/-19% and 40+/-20% (p=NS) and the intima media thickness was 0.94+/-0.24 mm, 0.97+/-0.20 mm and 0.98+/-0.20 mm (p=NS) in the II, ID and DD subgroups, respectively. When the echogenicity was analyzed according to the ACE I/D polymorphism, 12 subjects (41.4%), 13 (44.8%) and 4 (13.8%) with II genotype had predominantly echogenic, mixed and predominantly echolucent lesions, respectively. The ID genotype diabetics were found to have predominantly echogenic plaques in 41 cases (47.7%), mixed in 30 (34.9%) and predominantly echolucent in 15 cases (17.4%). From the 69 DD subjects 19 (27.5%) had predominantly echogenic plaques, 26 (37.7%) had mixed and 24 (34.8%) had predominantly echolucent lesions. Predominantly echolucent plaques were more frequently encountered among diabetics with the DD genotype (p<0.05), even after correction for demographic characteristics, the main risk factors of atherosclerosis and blood glucose control.

Conclusions: The ACE genotype seems to be associated with the echogenicity of carotid artery atheromatosis but not with the common carotid artery intima media thickness or the degree of internal carotid artery stenosis in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The DD genotype may be implicated in the increased cardiovascular risk that characterizes echolucent plaques.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / complications
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / enzymology*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / genetics*
  • Carotid Artery, Common / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, Common / enzymology*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / enzymology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Gene Frequency / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications
  • Hyperlipidemias / enzymology
  • Hyperlipidemias / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Ultrasonography


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A