Autonomic nervous function, arterial stiffness and blood pressure in patients with Type I diabetes mellitus and normal urinary albumin excretion

J Hum Hypertens. 2004 Nov;18(11):761-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.jhh.1001751.


Type I diabetic patients (DM-1) with an elevated urinary albumin excretion (UAE>30 mg/24 h) have a high cardiovascular risk. However, DM-1 patients with normal UAE have incipient abnormalities of the cardiovascular and nervous systems, such as elevations of blood pressures, increases in arterial stiffness and deterioration of autonomic nervous function. We studied the interrelationships of these abnormalities in normoalbuminuric DM-1 patients. In 76 patients, we performed two cardiovascular reflex tests (deep in- and expiration test (IE test) and lying-to-standing test (LS test)), and determined aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), local arterial compliances of the common carotid, femoral and brachial arteries, and 24-h blood pressures. The DeltaRRmax value of the LS test was associated with aortic PWV (negatively) and the compliance coefficients of the carotid, femoral and brachial arteries. Per 100-ms increase in DeltaRRmax, pulse wave velocity decreased by 0.39 m/s, compliance coefficients of the carotid, femoral and brachial arteries increased by 0.06, 0.08 and 0.05 mm2/kPa, respectively. These associations were independent of age, 24-h mean arterial pressure and 24-h heart rate. Increases in arterial stiffness were associated with increases in 24-h systolic and pulse pressure (per 1 m/s increase in PWV, systolic and pulse pressure increased by 2.1 and 1.7 mmHg, respectively). In normoalbuminuric DM-1 patients, deterioration of autonomic nervous function is associated with an increase in arterial stiffness, which, in turn, was associated with, and may cause, increased systolic and pulse pressure. These findings suggest that preventive strategies targeting autonomic dysfunction may reduce cardiovascular morbidity in diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albuminuria / physiopathology
  • Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / physiopathology*
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male