Effect of oral vitamin E (α-tocopherol) supplementation on vascular endothelial function in type 2 diabetes mellitus

Anastasios Gazis*, D. J. White, S. R. Page, J. R. Cockcroft

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Vascular endothelial dysfunction, an early marker of atherosclerosis, has been demonstrated in Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Vitamin E preserves endothelial function in animal models of diabetes and reduces cardiovascular risk. We examined endothelial function and the effect of vitamin E supplements in uncomplicated Type 2 DM. Methods: Forty-eight subjects with Type 2 DM and 21 controls had endothelial function assessed using forearm venous occlusion plethysmography with endothelium-independent (sodium nitroprusside) and dependent (acetylcholine, bradykinin) vasodilators. Those with diabetes received 1600 iu daily oral α-tocopherol or placebo, double-blind for 8 weeks, and had endothelial function reassessed. Results: The diabetic group had higher HbA(1c) (6.9 ± 1.4 vs 4.8 ± 0.6%; P < 0.01) and systolic (145 ± 15 vs 130 ± 16 mmHg; P < 0.01) but not diastolic blood pressure (79 ± 8 vs 76 ± 9 mmHg; P = 0.15). There was blunted vasodilation to acetylcholine (15 μg/min; P < 0.01) in subjects with diabetes. Vasodilation to sodium nitroprusside and bradykinin was similar (all P > 0.1). α-tocopherol did not affect vasodilation to nitroprusside (P > 0.1), acetylcholine (P > 0.1) or bradykinin (P > 0.1). Conclusions There may be receptor-specific endothelial dysfunction in subjects with uncomplicated Type 2 DM. This is not improved by treatment with α- tocopherol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Acetylcholine
  • Bradykinin
  • Endothelium
  • Tocopherol
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus


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