Animal Models of Diabetes and Atherosclerosis

  • Peter D. Reaven
  • Wulf Palinski
Part of the Contemporary Cardiology book series (CONCARD)


Epidemiologic studies have documented that individuals with diabetes mellitus as well as those with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) have an increased prevalence of atherosclerosis and increased rates of coronary artery disease (CAD) (1, 2). However, the mechanisms by which these conditions enhance atherogenesis are poorly understood. Hyperglycemia, the defining metabolic change in diabetes, may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. The specific contribution of hyperglycemia has been difficult to demonstrate in either population studies or animal models (1,3–6). Moreover, hyperglycemia per se is unlikely to play a role in the development of atherosclerosis in individuals with IGT, who usually demonstrate only modest postprandial hyperglycemia. This is confirmed by recent data from the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study demonstrating that improved glucose control reduces microvascular complications but has modest or no effects on macrovascular disease and its clinical sequelae (3). Many investigators have therefore suggested that other factors besides glucose levels contribute to the development of macrovascular disease in diabetes. Insulin resistance, an essential component of type 2 diabetes, is frequently associated with a number of metabolic abnormalities such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and hypertension that are considered traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis. However, these risk factors explain only some, but not all, of the increased risk for CAD in individuals with IGT or diabetes (7,8).


Insulin Resistance Atherosclerotic Lesion Plasma Cholesterol Level Induce Insulin Resistance Cholesterol Ester Transfer Protein 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter D. Reaven
  • Wulf Palinski

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