Context: Altered cardiac structure and function have been reported in prediabetic and diabetic populations; however, the contribution of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to these changes has yet to be delineated.
Objective: Our objective was to examine interrelationships between glucose metabolism, left ventricular mass and function, and SNS activity in obese metabolic syndrome subjects.
Participants and methods: Unmedicated impaired glucose tolerant (IGT) (n = 31) or treatment-naive type 2 diabetic (T2D) (n = 25) subjects, matched for age (mean 58 ± 1 years), gender, body mass index (32.2 ± 0.5 kg/m(2)), and blood pressure, participated. They underwent echocardiography and assessments of whole-body norepinephrine kinetics, muscle sympathetic nerve activity, and insulin sensitivity by euglycemic clamp (M value).
Results: T2D subjects had higher left ventricular mass index (LVMI) (93.6 ± 3.5 vs 77.2 ± 3.4 g/m(2), P = .002) and Doppler-derived isovolumetric relaxation and deceleration times (both P < .05) and lower early/late transmitral inflow velocities (E/A) (P = .02) compared with IGT. Total muscle sympathetic nerve activity and arterial norepinephrine concentration were higher in the T2D group (by 18% and 32%, respectively, both P ≤ .05), whereas plasma norepinephrine clearance was reduced (1.94 ± 0.11 vs 2.26 ± 0.10 L/min, P = .02). M value correlated inversely with left ventricular septal thickness (r = -0.46, P = .007). Whole-body noradrenaline spillover rate correlated with LVMI in the T2D subgroup (r = 0.47, P = .03). In the pooled cohort, LVMI was independently predicted by pulse pressure (r = 0.38, P = .004) and E/A ratio by 2-hour glucose (r = -0.38, P = .005).
Conclusions: Transition from IGT to T2D is associated with cardiac enlargement and diastolic dysfunction, which relate to metabolic, hemodynamic, and SNS alterations.