Arterial stiffness in diabetes mellitus

Atherosclerosis. 2015 Feb;238(2):370-9. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.12.023. Epub 2014 Dec 20.


Arterial stiffness is an age-related process that is a shared consequence of numerous diseases including diabetes mellitus (DM), and is an independent predictor of mortality both in this population and in the general population. While much has been published about arterial stiffness in patients with DM, a thorough review of the current literature is lacking. Using a systematic literature search strategy, we aimed to summarize our current understanding related to arterial stiffness in DM. We review key studies demonstrating that, among patients with established DM, arterial stiffness is closely related to the progression of complications of DM, including nephropathy, retinopathy, and neuropathy. It is also becoming clear that arterial stiffness can be increased even in pre-diabetic populations with impaired glucose tolerance, and in those with the metabolic syndrome (METS), well before the onset of overt DM. Some data suggests that arterial stiffness can predict the onset of DM. However, future work is needed to further clarify whether large artery stiffness and the pulsatile hemodynamic changes that accompany it are involved in the pathogenesis of DM, and whether interventions targeting arterial stiffness are associated with improved clinical outcomes in DM. We also review of the potential mechanisms of arterial stiffness in DM, with particular emphasis on the role of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) and nitric oxide dysregulation, and address potential future directions for research.

Keywords: Arterial stiffness; Diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / blood
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / etiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / blood
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Stiffness*


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Nitric Oxide