ABSTRACT: Hyperglycemia is acknowledged as an independent risk factor for developing diabetes-associated atherosclerosis. At present, most therapeutic approaches are targeted at a tight glycemic control in diabetic patients, although this fails to prevent macrovascular complications of the disease. Indeed, it remains highly controversial whether or not the mere elevation of extracellular D-glucose can directly promote vascular inflammation, which favors early pro-atherosclerotic events.
In the present work, increasing extracellular D-glucose from 5.5 to 22 mmol/L was neither sufficient to induce intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) expression, analyzed by flow cytometry, nor to promote leukocyte adhesion to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) in vitro, measured by flow chamber assays. Interestingly, the elevation of D-glucose levels potentiated ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression and leukocyte adhesion induced by a pro-inflammatory stimulus, such as interleukin (IL)-1beta (5 ng/mL). In HUVEC, high D-glucose augmented the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK 1/2) and nuclear transcription factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) elicited by IL-1beta, measured by Western blot and electromobility shift assay (EMSA), respectively, but had no effect by itself. Both ERK 1/2 and NF-kappaB were necessary for VCAM-1 expression, but not for ICAM-1 expression. In vivo, leukocyte trafficking was evaluated in the rat mesenteric microcirculation by intravital microscopy. In accordance with the in vitro data, the acute intraperitoneal injection of D-glucose increased leukocyte rolling flux, adhesion and migration, but only when IL-1beta was co-administered.
These results indicate that the elevation of extracellular D-glucose levels is not sufficient to promote vascular inflammation, and they highlight the pivotal role of a pro-inflammatory environment in diabetes, as a critical factor conditioning the early pro-atherosclerotic actions of hyperglycemia.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(4):e10091. · 4.09 Impact Factor