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Lancet. 1996 Feb 24;347(9000):513-5.

Long-term assessment of glucose control by haemoglobin-AGE measurement.

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Division of Endocrinology, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands.



Control of blood glucose is important in reducing both the incidence and the severity of complications in diabetes mellitus. One consequence of long- term hyperglycaemia is the formation and accumulation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) on tissue macromolecules. An AGE-modified form of human haemoglobin (Hb-AGE) present at high levels in the red cells of diabetic patients, differs from glucose-derived Amadori product HbA1c in being chemically irreversible and thus persisting for the circulating life of the red cell. We therefore compared Hb- AGE with HbA1c as indicators of long-term blood glucose control.


In an open study we measured circulating HbA1c and Hb-AGE concentrations in eight patients with poorly controlled non-insulin-dependent diabetes after a switch to subcutaneous insulin therapy and careful blood glucose monitoring.


After 16 weeks of insulin therapy, the mean HbA1c had decreased from 13.3 (SD 1.2) to 7.3 (0.9)% and the mean Hb-AGE from 12.1 (1.5) to 7.3 (1.3) U/mg Hb. The rate of Hb-AGE decline was 23% slower than that of HbA1c (p=0.044).


The observation that Hb-AGE declines more slowly than HbA1c is consistent with the irreversible nature of the AGE product. Because of this property, Hb-AGE may prove superior to HbA1c as a long-term index of circulating glucose concentrations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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