Endothelium, inflammation, and diabetes

Curr Diab Rep. 2002 Aug;2(4):311-5. doi: 10.1007/s11892-002-0019-0.


The endothelium has several diverse functions in maintaining vascular integrity in terms of structure and function. Two key vasodilators, nitric oxide (NO) and prostacyclin, maintain the vascular pathway, inhibit platelet aggregation, and are antithrombotic. More recently, they have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, and thus are potentially antiatherogenic. It has recently been noted that insulin stimulates NO release by the endothelium. Insulin is a vasodilator, has antiplatelet activity, and is anti-inflammatory. Similar anti-inflammatory effects of thiazolidinediones (TZDs), troglitazone and rosiglitazone, suggest that they too may have potential antiatherogenic effects. These effects of insulin and TZDs are important because the two major states of insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes, are associated with a marked increase in atherosclerosis coronary heart disease, and stroke. These recent observations have extremely momentous implications for the understanding of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in insulin-resistant states and for a rational approach to their comprehensive treatment, including the prevention of atherosclerosis and its complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / etiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology
  • Thiazolidinediones*
  • Vasculitis / complications
  • Vasculitis / physiopathology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Insulin
  • Thiazoles
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • 2,4-thiazolidinedione
  • Glucose