The role of oxidative stress in diabetic vascular and neural disease

Free Radic Res. 2003 May;37(5):471-80. doi: 10.1080/1071576031000083161.


This review will focus on the impact of hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress in the development of diabetes-induced vascular and neural dysfunction. Oxidative stress occurs when the balance between the production of oxidation products and the ability of antioxidant mechanisms to neutralize these products is tilted in the favor of the former. The production of reactive oxygen species has been shown to be increased in patients with diabetes. The possible sources for the overproduction of reactive oxygen species is widespread and include enzymatic pathways, autoxidation of glucose and the mitochondria. Increase in oxidative stress has clearly been shown to contribute to the pathology of vascular disease not only in diabetes but also in hypertension, stroke and ischemia. Since the etiology of diabetic neuropathy is considered to have a large vascular component, prevention of oxidative stress in diabetes is considered by many investigators to be a primary defense against the development of diabetic vascular disease. Potential therapies for preventing increased oxidative stress in diabetes and the neural vasculature will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / etiology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Free Radicals
  • Reactive Oxygen Species