Objective: Recently, much attention has been focused on the possibility that the post-prandial state may be a cardiovascular risk factor in diabetes. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether the post-prandial state is associated with endothelial dysfunction in patients with diabetes and to explore the effect on this aspect of managing post-prandial hyperglycaemia by insulin aspart.
Research design and methods: Twenty-three patients with Type 2 diabetes and 10 normal controls were recruited. In the diabetic patients two different tests were performed in each subject: a standard meal preceded by subcutaneous injection of soluble insulin (0.15 U/kg body weight) or of short-acting insulin aspart (0.15 U/kg body weight). These tests were designed to achieve different levels of post-prandial hyperglycaemia. Controls received a single standard meal test. Immediately before, and 1, 2, 4 and 6 h after each meal, blood glucose, triglycerides, free fatty acids and flow-mediated vasodilation were measured.
Results: Compared with regular insulin, insulin aspart significantly reduced the area under the curve for post-prandial hyperglycaemia (58.3 +/- 17.6 vs. 68.1 +/- 17.7; P<0.04), and preserved flow-mediated vasodilation, which was decreased in the post-prandial state (39.4 +/- 2.9 vs. 34.1 +/- 2.2; P<0.01). Triglyceride and free fatty acid levels were not differentially affected by the treatment. In normal controls the meal did not affect flow-mediated vasodilation.
Conclusion: This study shows that the post-prandial state is accompanied by endothelial dysfunction in Type 2 diabetic patients and that insulin aspart improved endothelial function.