Preventing Atherosclerosis with Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors: Emphasis on Diabetic Atherosclerosis
T. J. Allen,
K. A. Jandeleit-Dahm.
The incidence of diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate to the point where it is becoming an epidemic. An ageing population, sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet are considered to have contributed toward this. What we must now consider is not only the burden of the disease but the complications that arise from diabetes, in particular kidney and heart disease. Foremost, more than half of the diabetic population will die from cardiovascular-related causes. Whilst diabetes is most often associated with hypertension, dyslipidaemia and obesity, these factors do not fully account for the increased burden of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes. This strengthens the need for comprehensive studies investigating the underlying mechanisms mediating diabetic cardiovascular disease, and more specifically, diabetesassociated atherosclerosis. In addition to the recognised metabolic abnormalities associated with diabetes, upregulation of putative pathological pathways such as advanced glycation endproducts, renin-angiotensin system, oxidative stress and increased expression of growth factors and cytokines have been observed in the setting of diabetes. All of these have been shown to play a causal role in atherosclerotic plaque formation and thus may explain the increased risk of macrovascular complications in those patients with diabetes. In this review the effect of inhibiting the renin-angiotensin system with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition and a comparison to angiotensin II receptor antagonism is discussed, with the results of clinical trails reflecting the more recently discovered, non-haemodynamic, proatherogenic actions of angiotensin II. The need for experimental models of diabetes-associated atherosclerosis will be covered, with particular emphasis given to the streptozotocin-diabetic apolipoprotein E knockout mouse. Finally, growth factors, including vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor are discussed in detail.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, diabetes, plaque, ACE inhibitors, renin angiotensin system
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