Aims/hypothesis The impact of early vitamin E supplementation on vascular function in diabetes remains unresolved. Therefore, we examined the effects of vitamin E on functional and structural parameters and on chemical markers that are disturbed in diabetes in mesenteric and femoral arteries.
Methods Segments of both arteries, taken from control and 8-week-old streptozotocin diabetic Wistar rats that were treated or not with vitamin E, were mounted on wire and pressure myographs, after which endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilation was assessed. Passive mechanical wall properties and the localisation and levels of protein kinase C (PKC)-2 and AGE were evaluated in these vessels.
Results Vitamin E supplementation was associated with improved endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilatation in mesenteric arteries from diabetic rats. Impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in diabetic mesenteric vessels was associated with PKC-2 up-regulation and this was prevented by vitamin E supplementation. Increased AGE accumulation and plasma isoprostane levels in diabetic rats were not changed by vitamin E. In the femoral artery, vitamin E supplementation had no effect on endothelium-dependent or -independent vasodilatation, but did prevent the wall stiffening associated with diabetes.