Microvascular Complications of Diabetes Mellitus

  • Vincent Yen


The common feature underlying the diverse complications of diabetes is vasculopathy, both “micro” and “macro”, characterized by progressive narrowing of lumen as well as abnormal permeability to proteins. Diabetes and its complications have been used as a model for accelerated aging.1 In this model of aging, the ongoing biochemical process of nonenzymatic cross-linking of several types of macromolecules, including proteins and nucleic acids, leads to modification and then decline in structure and function of these molecules, as the cross-links accumulate both extracellularly and intracellularly over time. A prime example would be the crosslinking of collagen, which is thought to lead to typical phenomena observed in aging, such as increased susceptibility to atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, decreased joint elasticity, the formation of cataracts, and cardiac enlargement. Crosslinked collagen, found in increased levels in aged animal aorta and cartilage2 as well as in aged human collagen of tendon and skin,3 has been considered a biological marker for aging. Cross-linking of nucleic acids similarly might lead to increased errors in information transfer.


Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Diabetic Nephropathy Diabetic Retinopathy Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Expression United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

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  • Vincent Yen

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