Aims/hypothesis: Type 2 diabetes mellitus is characterised by heightened inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. Moderate alcohol intake has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetic patients. It remains to be determined whether there is an association between alcohol and inflammation in individuals with diabetes.
Methods: We investigated the relationship between alcohol intake and inflammation in 726 of 18,159 men who returned blood samples in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and had confirmed type 2 diabetes at blood draw.
Results: In age-adjusted analyses, alcohol intake was associated with lower levels of HbA1c, fibrinogen, soluble tumour necrosis factor receptor-2 (sTNF-R2) and soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), and with higher levels of HDL cholesterol and adiponectin (p value for trends <0.05). After adjustment for age, HbA1c, insulin use, fasting status, smoking, BMI, physical activity, aspirin use, prevalence of cardiovascular disease and dietary factors, each additional drink per day was related to increased HDL cholesterol (0.053 mmol/l, p<0.0001) and adiponectin (0.8 microg/ml, p=0.01), and decreased sTNFR-2 (73 pg/ml, p=0.03), fibrinogen (0.302 micromol/l, p=0.02) and sVCAM-1 (33 ng/ml, p=0.02). The relationship between alcohol and inflammatory biomarkers persisted when subjects were stratified according to HbA1c levels.
Conclusions/interpretation: Moderate alcohol intake may have a beneficial effect on markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in type 2 diabetic patients.