Postprandial hyperglycemia impairs vascular endothelial function in healthy men by inducing lipid peroxidation and increasing asymmetric dimethylarginine:arginine

J Nutr. 2011 Nov;141(11):1961-8. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.144592. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


Postprandial hyperglycemia induces vascular endothelial dysfunction (VED) and increases future cardiovascular disease risk. We hypothesized that postprandial hyperglycemia would decrease vascular function in healthy men by inducing oxidative stress and proinflammatory responses and increasing asymmetric dimethylarginine:arginine (ADMA:arginine), a biomarker that is predictive of reduced NO biosynthesis. In a randomized, cross-over design, healthy men (n = 16; 21.6 ± 0.8 y) ingested glucose or fructose (75 g) after an overnight fast. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), plasma glucose and insulin, antioxidants, malondialdehyde (MDA), inflammatory proteins, arginine, and ADMA were measured at regular intervals during the 3-h postprandial period. Baseline FMD did not differ between trials (P > 0.05). Postprandial FMD was reduced following the ingestion of glucose only. Postprandial MDA concentrations increased to a greater extent following the ingestion of glucose compared to fructose. Plasma arginine decreased and the ratio of ADMA:arginine increased to a greater extent following the ingestion of glucose. Inflammatory cytokines and cellular adhesion molecules were unaffected by the ingestion of either sugar. Postprandial AUC(0-3 h) for FMD and MDA were inversely related (r = -0.80; P < 0.05), suggesting that hyperglycemia-induced lipid peroxidation suppresses postprandial vascular function. Collectively, these findings suggest that postprandial hyperglycemia in healthy men reduces endothelium-dependent vasodilation by increasing lipid peroxidation independent of inflammation. Postprandial alterations in arginine and ADMA:arginine also suggest that acute hyperglycemia may induce VED by decreasing NO bioavailability through an oxidative stress-dependent mechanism. Additional work is warranted to define whether inhibiting lipid peroxidation and restoring arginine metabolism would mitigate hyperglycemia-mediated decreases in vascular function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Arginine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Arginine / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipid Peroxidation*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Postprandial Period*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Malondialdehyde
  • N,N-dimethylarginine
  • Arginine