In the last few years, there has been increasing focus on the impact of interventions on cardiovascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance and hyperglycaemia often co-exist with a cluster of risk factors for coronary artery disease, but the underlying mechanisms leading to the development of such vascular complications are complex. The over-production of free radicals in patients suffering from diabetes results in a state of oxidative stress, which leads to endothelial dysfunction and a greater risk of atherosclerosis. Moreover, inflammatory factors which play a critical role in atherothrombosis and plaque rupture are often found to be at elevated levels in this patient population. Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are now routinely used to manage glucose levels, and have been suggested to influence other cardiovascular risk factors and therefore the pathways leading to macrovascular events. Consequently, recent studies have investigated the anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic properties of TZDs. The data available up to the present time, in the context of the emerging cardiovascular outcome profiles of rosiglitazone and pioglitazone, will be discussed here.
2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd