Atherothrombotic disease is a well-recognized complication of diabetes and is a major contributor to the high morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes. Although there is substantial evidence linking diabetes with cardiovascular disease, the specific effect of hyper- (or hypo-) glycaemia is less well understood. The present review focuses on the impact that glycaemic dysregulation has on respiratory function and ROS (reactive oxygen species) generation in the endothelial cells that are critical in preventing several key steps in the atherothrombotic process. Endothelial cells are particularly susceptible to ROS-mediated dysfunction not only because of reduced cell viability and increased senescence, but also because one of the major endothelium-derived factors that help to protect against atherosclerosis, nitric oxide, is rapidly deactivated by superoxide radicals.

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