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      Skin Blood Flow in the Upper and Lower Extremities of Diabetic Patients with and without Autonomic Neuropathy


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          Background: Microvascular blood flow in the human skin is subject to rhythmic variations reflecting the influence of heartbeat, respiration, intrinsic myogenic activity, neurogenic factors and endothelial activity. The aim of our study was to test the hypothesis that basal skin blood flow (BSBF) and its dynamic components differ (1) among diabetic patients without autonomic neuropathy and with it and healthy control subjects, and (2) among the upper and lower extremities. Patients and Methods: BSBF at four recording sites with predominantly nutritive capillary circulation (right and left caput ulnae, right and left medial malleolus) was measured by laser Doppler flowmetry in 25 diabetic patients without cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (D), 18 neuropathic diabetic patients (DAN) and 36 healthy controls (C). Wavelet transform was applied to the laser Doppler signal. Results: In absolute terms, mean flow, mean amplitude of the total spectrum and mean amplitudes at all frequency intervals were highest in C, followed by DAN and lowest in D. However, these differences were statistically significant only in the left arm. Within all three groups, mean flow and spectral amplitudes were significantly higher in the arms than in the legs, besides there was a significant difference between the two arms in D. Conclusion: We have confirmed the differences in BSBF among D, DAN and C, and demonstrated differences among the four recording sites which have not been previously described. The latter indicates an uneven progression of autonomic neuropathy and allows for speculation that the left arm is the latest to be affected.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Microvascular and macrovascular reactivity is reduced in subjects at risk for type 2 diabetes.

          Abnormalities in vascular reactivity in the micro- and macrocirculation are well established in type 2 diabetes. However, little is known about changes in vascular reactivity in those at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. To address this situation, the vascular reactivity in both the micro- and macrocirculation was studied in four age and sex comparable groups: 30 healthy normoglycemic subjects with no history of type 2 diabetes in a first-degree relative (controls), 39 healthy normoglycemic subjects with a history of type 2 diabetes in one or both parents (relatives), 32 subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and 42 patients with type 2 diabetes without vascular complications (diabetes). Laser Doppler perfusion imaging was used to measure vasodilation in the forearm skin in response to iontophoresis of 1% acetylcholine chloride (Ach) (endothelium-dependent) and 1% sodium nitroprusside (SNP) (endothelium-independent), whereas high-resolution ultrasound images were used to measure brachial artery diameter changes during reactive hyperemia. Plasma concentrations of endothelin-1 (ET-1), von Willebrand factor (vWF), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM), and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule (sVCAM) were also measured as indicators of endothelial cell activation. The vasodilatory responses to Ach, expressed as percent increase of blood flow over baseline, were reduced in relatives (98 +/- 48, mean +/- SD), IGT (94 +/- 52), and diabetes (74 +/- 45) compared with controls (126 +/- 67) (P < 0.001 controls versus relatives, IGT, and diabetes). The responses to SNP were similarly reduced: controls (123 +/- 46), relatives (85 +/- 46), IGT (83 +/- 48), and diabetes (65 +/- 31) (P < 0.001 controls versus relatives, IGT, and diabetes) as were the responses in the brachial artery diameter during reactive hyperemia: controls (13.7 +/- 6.1), relatives (10.5 +/- 6.7), IGT (9.8 +/- 4.5), and diabetes (8.4 +/- 5.0) (P < 0.01 controls versus relatives, IGT, and diabetes). Women had greater responses than men in both the micro- and macrovascular circulatory tests, but a similar progressive reduction was observed in both sexes with increasing degrees of glucose intolerance. A significant inverse correlation was found between microvascular reactivity and systolic blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, HDL cholesterol, fasting plasma insulin, and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) values, an index of insulin resistance. BMI and diastolic blood pressure had a significant inverse correlation only with endothelium-dependent vasodilation. In the macrocirculation, systolic blood pressure, HbA1c, HDL cholesterol, and HOMA had significant correlation with brachial artery diameter changes. Compared with control subjects, ET-1 was significantly higher in all groups, vWF was higher only in the diabetic group, sICAM levels were higher in the IGT and diabetic groups, while sVCAM concentrations were higher in the relatives and those with diabetes (P < 0.05). On stepwise multivariate analysis, age, sex, fasting plasma glucose, and BMI were the most important contributing factors to the variation of vascular reactivity. Addition of all clinical and biochemical measures explained only 32-37% of the variation in vascular reactivity. These results suggest that abnormalities in vascular reactivity and biochemical markers of endothelial cell activation are present early in individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even at a stage when normal glucose tolerance exists, and that factors in addition to insulin resistance may be operative.
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            The Value of Cardiovascular Autonomic Function Tests: 10 Years Experience in Diabetes

             C Martyn,  D Ewing,  R. Young (1985)
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              Wavelet analysis of oscillations in the peripheral blood circulation measured by laser Doppler technique.

              The wavelet transform technique, a time-frequency method with logarithmic frequency resolution, was used to analyze oscillations in human peripheral blood flow measured by laser Doppler flowmetry. The oscillations extended over a wide frequency scale and their periods varied in time. Within the frequency range studied, 0.0095-1.6 Hz, five characteristic oscillations were revealed, arising from both local and central regulatory mechanisms. After the insertion of endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasodilators the spectra of blood flow markedly differed in the frequency interval 0.0095-0.02 Hz. In this way it was demonstrated that endothelial activity is a rhythmic process that contributes to oscillations in blood flow with a characteristic frequency of around 0.01 Hz. The study illustrates the potential of laser Doppler flowmetry combined with dynamical systems analysis for studies of both the micro- and macroscopic mechanisms of blood flow regulation in vivo.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                December 2004
                03 December 2004
                : 41
                : 6
                : 535-545
                aUniversity Medical Centre, Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Ljubljana, bUniversity of Ljubljana, Group of Nonlinear Dynamics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, and cUniversity Medical Centre, Department of Intensive Internal Medicine, Ljubljana, Slovenia
                81810 J Vasc Res 2004;41:535–545
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 4, References: 59, Pages: 11
                Research Paper


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