Aims: Hyperglycemia is linked to vascular dysfunction in patients with diabetes mellitus, either directly or through advanced glycation end product (AGE) formation. Experimental evidence has indicated the possible involvement of AGEs in the genesis of vascular complications. We investigated whether serum levels of AGEs and of the glycoxidation compound carboxymethyl-lysine (CML) were increased and correlated with vascular complications in type II diabetes mellitus.
Methods: Serum levels of AGEs and CML-human serum protein (CML-HSP) were measured by a specific immunoassay in 51 men and 26 women aged 58 +/- 6.1 years (mean +/- SD) who had been treated for type II diabetes mellitus for 11 +/- 8 years, and in a non-diabetic control group consisting of 39 men and 21 women aged 55.5 +/- 7.5 years. Patients with macroalbuminuria or abnormal creatinine clearance were excluded from the study.
Results: The serum levels of AGEs were significantly increased in patients with type II diabetes compared to controls (P<0.001). Blood levels of CML-HSP were significantly increased in diabetic patients compared to normal subjects [35.3 +/- 27.4 and 9.3 +/- 7.2 (mean +/- SD) pmol/mg of protein, respectively; P<0.0001]. In diabetic patients with retinopathy or microalbuminuria (urinary albumin excretion: UAE > 30 mg/24 h), CML-HSP levels were significantly higher (P<0.02), and even more elevated in patients with both complications.
Conclusion: In patients with type II diabetes, CML-HSP levels that are at variance with the HbA(1c) index for blood glucose may be a biomarker of glycoxidation, and related to the development of microvascular complications.