Background: Prevention or attenuation of diabetic vascular complications includes anti-hypertensive treatment with renin-angiotensin system inhibitors on account of their protective effects beyond blood pressure reduction. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of telmisartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker (ARB), on blood pressure, aortic stiffening, and aortic remodelling in experimental type 1 diabetes in rats. Methods. Diabetes was induced by streptozotocin (STZ) (65 mg/kg) in male Wistar rats. One diabetic group was treated for 10 weeks with telmisartan (10 mg/kg/day p/o). Pressure-independent aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) was measured under anaesthesia after intravenous infusion of phenylephrine and nitroglycerine. Aortic wall samples were collected for histomorphometrical analysis. Results: Untreated diabetes imposed differential effects on aortic stiffening, as demonstrated by increased isobaric PWV over a range of high blood pressures, but not at lower blood pressures. This was associated with loss and disruption of elastin fibres and an increase in collagen fibres in the aortic media. Treatment with telmisartan decreased resting blood pressure, reduced aortic stiffness, and partially prevented the degradation of elastin network within the aortic wall. Conclusions: Telmisartan improved the structural and functional indices of aortic stiffening induced by untreated STZ-diabetes, demonstrating the importance of ARBs in the therapeutic approach to diabetic vascular complications.
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- Arterial stiffness
- Pulse wave velocity