New arguments for beneficial effects of alpha-lipoic acid on the cardiovascular system in the course of type 2 diabetes

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Abstract

Purpose

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), widely known as an antioxidant, modifies also serum levels of angiogenic factors in type 2 diabetic patients. These pharmacological activities may influence the status of the cardiovascular system. Taking into consideration that diabetes is related to the increased cardiovascular risk we investigated several effects of ALA on angiogenic factors in the myocardium and in the aortal wall using a rat model of type 2 diabetes.

Methods

Diabetes was induced in Wistar rats by a fat-rich diet and by intraperitoneal injection of a small dose of streptozotocin (30 mg/kg). Animals were divided into 3 groups: ALA-treated type 2 diabetes rat model, placebo-treated type 2 diabetes rat model and placebo-treated non-diabetic rats. ALA was administered orally once a day, 20 mg/kg, for 8 consecutive weeks. mRNA VEGF, VEGF-R1 and VEGF-R2 expression was measured in the myocardium and the aortal wall, simultaneously with circulating VEGF and circulating endothelial cells (cEC) and endothelial progenitor cells (cEPC).

Results

ALA induced pro-angiogenic effect in the myocardium of rats with diabetes increasing mRNA VEGF expression and decreasing mRNA VEGFR-1 expression, while in the aortal wall ALA increased mRNA VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-1 expression. cVEGF in the ALA-treated group was higher comparing to both control groups. It was revealed that cEC percentage in the ALA-treated group was decreased with no effect on the percentage of cEPC.

Conclusions

In summary, the current data provide novel findings about potential beneficial effects of ALA on angiogenic factors in the cardiovascular system, especially on myocardium, in the course of type 2 diabetes.

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