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Diabetologia. 1995 Dec;38(12):1475-8.

Chronic vitamin E treatment prevents defective endothelium-dependent relaxation in diabetic rat aorta.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.


We examined the effect in rats of 2 months of streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus on relaxation and contraction of aortas in vitro. A further diabetic group was treated from time of diabetes induction with a 1% dietary supplement of vitamin E. Diabetes caused a 26.5% deficit (p < 0.001) in maximum endothelium-dependent relaxation to acetylcholine in phenylephrine-precontracted aortas. This was 64.3% attenuated (p < 0.01) by vitamin E treatment; maximum relaxation was not significantly altered compared to non-diabetic rats. Vitamin E treatment of non-diabetic rats did not significantly affect acetylcholine-induced relaxation. Diabetes or treatment did not significantly alter acetylcholine sensitivity. Endothelium-independent relaxation response to glyceryl trinitrate was not affected by diabetes or vitamin E treatment, indicating that vascular smooth muscle responses to nitric oxide remained unaltered. There was a 35.4% reduction in the maximum contractile response to phenylephrine with diabetes (p < 0.05) which was unaffected by vitamin E treatment. The data suggest that the chronic deficit in nitric oxide-mediated endothelium-dependent relaxation in diabetes depends largely upon excess activity of reactive oxygen species. Treatment with vitamin E to increase free radical scavenging specifically protected vascular endothelium although it had no effect on deficits in vascular smooth muscle contractile responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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