Increased Glycation and Oxidative Damage to Apolipoprotein B100 of LDL Cholesterol in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes and Effect of Metformin

  1. Paul J. Thornalley1
  1. 1Clinical Sciences Research Institute, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, University Hospital, Coventry, U.K.;
  2. 2Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Colchester General Hospital, Colchester, Essex, U.K.;
  3. 3Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Barcelona, Spain.
  1. Corresponding author: Naila Rabbani, n.rabbani{at}


OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to investigate whether apolipoprotein B100 of LDL suffers increased damage by glycation, oxidation, and nitration in patients with type 2 diabetes, including patients receiving metformin therapy.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS For this study, 32 type 2 diabetic patients and 21 healthy control subjects were recruited; 13 diabetic patients were receiving metformin therapy (median dose: 1.50 g/day). LDL was isolated from venous plasma by ultracentrifugation, delipidated, digested, and analyzed for protein glycation, oxidation, and nitration adducts by stable isotopic dilution analysis tandem mass spectrometry.

RESULTS Advanced glycation end product (AGE) content of apolipoprotein B100 of LDL from type 2 diabetic patients was higher than from healthy subjects: arginine-derived AGE, 15.8 vs. 5.3 mol% (P < 0.001); and lysine-derived AGE, 2.5 vs. 1.5 mol% (P < 0.05). Oxidative damage, mainly methionine sulfoxide residues, was also increased: 2.5 vs. 1.1 molar equivalents (P < 0.001). 3-Nitrotyrosine content was decreased: 0.04 vs. 0.12 mol% (P < 0.05). In diabetic patients receiving metformin therapy, arginine-derived AGE and methionine sulfoxide were lower than in patients not receiving metformin: 19.3 vs. 8.9 mol% (P < 0.01) and 2.9 vs. 1.9 mol% (P < 0.05), respectively; 3-nitrotyrosine content was higher: 0.10 vs. 0.03 mol% (P < 0.05). Fructosyl-lysine residue content correlated positively with fasting plasma glucose. Arginine-derived AGE residue contents were intercorrelated and also correlated positively with methionine sulfoxide.

CONCLUSIONS Patients with type 2 diabetes had increased arginine-derived AGEs and oxidative damage in apolipoprotein B100 of LDL. This was lower in patients receiving metformin therapy, which may contribute to decreased oxidative damage, atherogenicity, and cardiovascular disease.


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    • Received October 1, 2009.
    • Accepted December 28, 2009.

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  1. Diabetes vol. 59 no. 4 1038-1045
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