Context: Cerebral vasomotor reactivity (CVR) is reduced in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), and glucose variability (GV) might be responsible for cerebrovascular damage.
Objective: Studying patients with insulin resistance without DM, we explored the role of GV in impairing CVR.
Patients: We studied 18 metabolic syndrome (MS) patients without DM, 9 controls (C), and 26 patients with DM.
Main outcome measures: Groups were compared in terms of CVR, GV, and 24-hour blood pressure. To evaluate the impact of acute hyperglycemia on CVR, a hyperglycemic clamp was performed in MS patients and controls.
Results: Baseline CVR was reduced in DM vs C and MS (C vs DM = 20.2, 95% CI = 3.5-36.9, P = .014; and MS vs DM = 22.2, 95% CI = 8.6-35.8, P = .001), but similar between MS and C (MS vs C = 2.0, 95% CI = -14.7 to 18.7, P = .643). During acute hyperglycemia, CVR fell in MS and C to values comparable to DM. GV progressively increased from C to MS to DM. In MS, CVR at 120 minutes and GV displayed a negative correlation (r = -0.48, P = .043), which did not change after controlling for mean 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In MS, the CVR reduction was significantly correlated to GV (r = 0.55, P = .02).
Conclusions: GV is increased in patients with MS but without DM and is the major predictor of CVR reduction induced by acute hyperglycemia, possibly representing the earliest cause of cerebrovascular damage in DM.