, Volume 56, Issue 10, pp 2107-2109

Vascular smooth muscle function: defining the diabetic vascular phenotype


In this issue of Diabetologia, a meta-analysis performed by Montero and co-authors (Diabetologia doi 10.1007/s00125-013-2974-1) demonstrates a significant impairment of vascular smooth muscle (VSM) function in type 2 diabetic patients. Endothelial function and VSM function between type 2 diabetic and healthy individuals were associated, especially in the microcirculation, confirming the hypothesis that unresponsiveness of VSM cells to NO may amplify the consequences of reduced NO availability. This study suggests a novel interpretation for endothelial dysfunction in diabetic patients, indicating VSM cells as key players. Causative mechanisms of VSM dysfunction, which seems to be a feature of the vascular phenotype of type 2 diabetes mellitus, are largely unexplored in humans. Future studies should also address the crucial issue of the prognostic significance of VSM dysfunction in diabetic patients, and possibly in other conditions characterised by high cardiovascular risk.