Hyperglycemia counterbalances the antihypertensive effect of glutathione in diabetic patients: evidence linking hypertension and glycemia through the oxidative stress in diabetes mellitus

J Diabetes Complications. Jul-Aug 1997;11(4):250-5. doi: 10.1016/s1056-8727(97)00021-4.


Diabetes mellitus is associated with hypertension. An antihypertensive effect of the antioxidant glutathione has been recently demonstrated. It has been suggested that hyperglycemia may contribute to the pathophysiology of hypertension in diabetes by generating an oxidative stress. In this study, three different tests were performed in ten hypertensive and ten nonhypertensive diabetic subjects: (1) an oral glucose tolerance test, (2) glutathione i.v. administration (1 g/m2 bolus + 1 g/m2 in 2 h), and (3) oral glucose tolerance test + glutathione administration. At -15', 0', 30', 60', 90', 120', and 180' systolic and diastolic blood pressure, plasma glucose, and insulin were measured. Variations in plasma glucose and insulin levels were not different during each test in the two groups of patients and in test (1) compared to (3). Glutathione administration reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in both hypertensive and nonhypertensive diabetic subjects from 30' to 120'. This phenomenon was abolished as glycemia increased after oral glucose loading. In hypertensive, but not in nonhypertensive diabetic subjects, a significant increase of systolic and diastolic blood pressure was observed at 90' and 120' of the oral glucose tolerance test (p < 0.01). These data show that hyperglycemia can counteract the hypotensive effects of the antioxidant glutathione, suggesting that glucose may impair arterial relaxation by producing free radicals. Also, it appears that hypertension in diabetic patients is aggravated by high glucose plasma levels.

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glutathione / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology*
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress*


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Glutathione