Endothelial Dysfunction: An Early Cardiovascular Risk Marker in Asymptomatic Obese Individuals with Prediabetes

Br J Med Med Res. 2012 May 30;2(3):413-423. doi: 10.9734/bjmmr/2012/1479.


AIMS: To elucidate if endothelial dysfunction is an early CV risk marker in obese men and women with prediabetes. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: Clinical Research Unit, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA. United States. METHODOLOGY: Overweight and obese status denotes an increasing adipose tissue burden which spills over into ectopic locations, including the visceral compartment, muscle and liver. Associated co-morbidities enhance cardiovascular (CV) risk. Endothelium which is the largest receptor-effector end-organ in our bodies, while responding to numerous physical and chemical stimuli maintains vascular homeostasis. Endothelial dysfunction (ED) is the initial perturbation, which precedes fatty streak known to initiate atherosclerosis: insidious process which often culminates as sudden catastrophic CV adverse event. Asymptomatic men and women; [n=42] coming in after an overnight fast had demographic, anthropometric, clinical chemistry and resting endothelial function [EF: increased test finger peripheral arterial tone (PAT) relative to control; expressed as relative hyperemia index (RHI)] assessments. RESULTS: Adults with desirable weight [n=12] and overweight [n=8] state, had normal fasting plasma glucose [Mean(SD)]: FPG [91.1(4.5), 94.8(5.8) mg/dL], insulin [INS, 2.3(4.4), 3.1(4.8) μU/ml], insulin sensitivity by homeostasis model assessment [HOMA-IR, 0.62(1.2), 0.80(1.2)] and desirable resting clinic blood pressure [SBP/DBP, 118(12)/74(5), 118(13)/76(8) mmHg]. Obese adults [n=22] had prediabetes [FPG, 106.5(3.5) mg/dL], hyperinsulinemia [INS 18.0(5.2) μU/ml], insulin resistance [HOMA-IR 4.59(2.3)], prehypertension [PreHTN; SBP/DBP 127(13)/81(7) mmHg] and endothelial dysfunction [ED; reduced RHI 1.7(0.3) vs. 2.4(0.3); all p<0.05]. Age-adjusted RHI correlated with BMI [r=-0.53; p<0.001]; however, BMI-adjusted RHI was not correlated with age [r=-0.01; p=0.89]. CONCLUSION: Endothelial dysfunction reflective of cardiometabolic changes in obese adults can be an early risk marker for catastrophic CV events.