Clinical Studies in Diabetic Vasculopathy to Assess Interactions Between Blood, Bone and Kidney
Singh, Dhruvaraj Kailashnath
Diabetic vasculopathy (DV) is the most important consequence of chronic hyperglycemia in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). This thesis explores the interaction of blood, bone and kidney in the pathogenesis of DV by i) reviewing the current understanding of pathogenesis of macrovascular and microvascular diseases in DM to identify gaps in literature and generate hypotheses relating to various facets of DV ii) undertaking a series of prospective studies to examine these hypotheses iii) analysing the findings and integrating any new information obtained from the clinical studies into the current knowledge base and iv) generating hypotheses upon which future work might be based. The literature search was carried out with the aim of understanding current concepts of pathogenesis of DV and its potential modulators. The original reviews resulting from this process are presented in chapters 2 to 4. A series of pilot studies reported in chapters 7 to 11, were then carried out to interrogate hypotheses originating from this process. The first study was carried out in healthy individuals to define the biological variation of potential modulators of DV, namely erythropoietin (EPO), parathyroid hormone, 25 hydroxyvitamin D and 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D to facilitate the design and interpretation of subsequent studies. It revealed a wide biological variation of these modulators in the healthy population thus,emphasizing the need to have a control group in the subsequent study population. To examine whether tubulointerstitial dysfunction occurs before the onset of microalbuminuria, a measurement of the above mentioned parameters was carried out along with markers of tubulointerstitial injury in patients with type 1 and type 2 DM without microalbuminuria and in non-diabetic controls. It was found that tubulointerstitial dysfunction with low levels of EPO and 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D and higher excretion of tubular injury markers, occurs before the onset of microalbuminuria. Subsequently, diabetic and nondiabetic chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with EPO deficiency anaemia were examined to study the effects of EPO therapy on the excretion of tubular injury markers. However, in these patient groups, we were unable to demonstrate an effect of EPO therapy on the markers of tubular injury in spite of a beneficial haematological response. To examine whether vascular calcification (VC) and bone mineral density (BMD) were linked in patients with diabetes mellitus and to explore their relationship to modulators of DV, an assessment of VC and BMD was undertaken in patients with type 2 DM with different degrees of proteinuria and normoalbuminuria. VC was assessed by CT scan and BMD by a DEXA scan. Modulators of DV were measured including serum Osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-b-ligand (RANKL). The findings were i) a high prevalence of VC and osteopenia in normoalbuminuric type 2 DM patients with normal serum creatinine ii) a weak inverse relationship between VC and osteopenia iii) proteinuric patients had worse VC but not osteopenia iv) weak relationships between OPG levels and both VC and osteopenia, masked by age in multivariate analysis. The final study examined the relationship between modulators of DV, including OPG and RANKL, and the degree of CKD. It was found that abnormalities of OPG and RANKL occur before the onset of microalbuminuria and progress with deterioration of renal function. Compared to nondiabetics, DM patients have higher OPG levels in the predialysis phase and lower levels in haemodialysis phase, a phenomenon that might indicate endothelial exhaustion in dialysis patients with DM. The derangements associated with DV seem to occur earlier than previously thought. Further work is required to untangle these complexities and to define the contribution of factors such as the adverse blood milieu, the vasculature, abnormal bone and mineral metabolism, and early tubulointerstitial damage. The findings from the studies reported here may help in the formulation of new hypotheses, which might contribute to future work in this area.
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