The atherosclerotic process is an ongoing dynamic and progressive state arising from endothelial dysfunction and inflammation. Although suffering from an acute coronary artery disease, patients with Type II diabetes have a poor outcome compared with non-diabetic patients, which may only partly be explained by traditional risk factors. Our purpose was to compare non-traditional risk factors, such as endothelial function, C-reactive protein (CRP) and adiponectin, in Type II diabetic and non-diabetic patients following AMI (acute myocardial infarction). Twenty Type II diabetic patients were compared with 25 non-diabetic patients at baseline (1–3 days from the onset of chest pain) and at 60 days follow-up after an AMI. Using high-resolution ultrasound, brachial artery responses to FMD (flow-mediated vasodilatation; endothelium-dependent vasodilatation) and NTG (nitroglycerine-induced vasodilatation; endothelium-independent vasodilatation) were measured. Plasma levels of CRP and adiponectin were measured by ELISA. At baseline, FMD (1.9 compared with 3.2%; P=0.22) and CRP levels (6.95 compared with. 5.51 mg/l; P=0.40) did not differ between Type II diabetic and non-diabetic patients, whereas adiponectin levels were lower in Type II diabetic patients (2.8 compared with 5.0 ng/ml; P<0.05). At 60 days follow-up, there were significant differences in FMD (1.5 compared with 4.1%; P<0.02), CRP (4.23 compared with 1.46 mg/ml; P<0.01) and adiponectin (3.3 compared with 5.3 ng/ml; P<0.05) levels between Type II diabetic and non-diabetic patients. In contrast, NTG responses improved in both groups between baseline and follow-up (Type II diabetic patients, 9.7 compared with 13.2% respectively, P<0.05; non-diabetic patients, 7.9 compared with 12.4% respectively, P<0.01). These results show a persistent endothelium-dependent dysfunction and inflammatory activity in patients with Type II diabetes, but not in non-diabetic patients, after AMI. These findings may, in part explain, the poor outcome in coronary artery disease seen in Type II diabetes.

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