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Role of Oxidative Stress in Development of Cardiovascular Complications in Diabetes Mellitus

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Diabetes represents a serious risk factor for the development of cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, hypertension, stroke, cardiomyopathy, nephropathy and retinopathy. Identifying the pathogenesis of this increased risk provides a basis for secondary intervention to reduce morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients. Hyperglycemia and protein glycation, increased inflammation, a prothrombotic state and endothelial dysfunction have all been implicated as possible mechanisms for such complications.

A linking element between many of these phenomena could possibly be, among other factors, increased production of reactive oxygen species.

Vascular endothelial cells have several physiological actions that are essential for the normal function of the cardiovascular system. These include the production of nitric oxide (NO), which regulates vasodilatation, anticoagulation, leukocyte adhesion, smooth muscle proliferation and the antioxidative capacity of endothelial cells. However, under conditions of hyperglycemia, excessive amounts of superoxide radicals are produced inside vascular cells and this can interfere with NO production leading to the possible complications.

This article aims at reviewing the links between reactive oxygen species, diabetes and vascular disease and whether or not antioxidants can alter the course of vascular complications in diabetic patients and animal models. A possible beneficial effect of antioxidants might present a new addition to the range of secondary preventive measures used in diabetic patients.
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Keywords: Diabetes mellitus; antioxidants; cardiovascular complications; endothelial dysfunction; free radicals; hypertension; vitamin C; vitamin E

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 2 Moderiat Al-Tahrir St., Flat 504, Garden City, Cairo, Egypt.

Publication date: July 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Vascular disease is the commonest cause of death in Westernized countries and its incidence is on the increase in developing countries. It follows that considerable research is directed at establishing effective treatment for acute vascular events. Long-term treatment has also received considerable attention (e.g. for symptomatic relief). Furthermore, effective prevention, whether primary or secondary, is backed by the findings of several landmark trials.

    Vascular disease is a complex field with primary care physicians and nurse practitioners as well as several specialties involved. The latter include cardiology, vascular and cardio thoracic surgery, general medicine, radiology, clinical pharmacology and neurology (stroke units). Current Vascular Pharmacology will publish reviews to update all those concerned with the treatment of vascular disease. For example, reviews commenting on recently published trials or new drugs will be included. In addition to clinically relevant topics we will consider 'research-based' reviews dealing with future developments and potential drug targets. Therefore, another function of Current Vascular Pharmacology is to bridge the gap between clinical practice and ongoing research.

    Debates will also be encouraged in the correspondence section of this journal.
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