Effects of Hyperglycemia on Endothelial Activation and Early Atherosclerotic Plaque Development
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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world today. Atherosclerosis is the formation of plaque in the arteries and a major underlying cause of these fatalities. Type I and II diabetes are each strong independent risk factors for atherosclerosis. This study examines the effects of hyperglycemia on early atherosclerosis. Hyperglycemia did not promote atherosclerosis in the absence of hypercholesterolemia. Hyperglycemic mice demonstrated greater VCAM, but not ICAM, expression in regions of the endothelium susceptible to atherogenesis, prior to initiation of plaque development. Regions correlating to upregulation of VCAM exhibited a greater quantity of macrophages infiltrating the intima. This study suggests a unique and important role for VCAM in early atherosclerotic development and may explain the accelerated atherosclerotic plaque progression seen in hyperglycemic mice. This study also identifies VCAM as a potential target for the development of therapies to block or slow atherosclerotic plaque development in people with diabetes.
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