BACKGROUND: Patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are at increased risk of secondary events, which is exaggerated in the presence of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is associated with a systemic pro-inflammatory state. We therefore investigated the cumulative impact of PAD and type 2 diabetes on carotid arterial wall inflammation. As recent data suggest a detrimental role of exogenous insulin on cardiovascular disease, we also included a group of insulin users.
RESULTS: (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography with computed tomography ((18)F-FDG PET/CT) imaging showed increased carotid arterial wall inflammation, assessed as target-to-background ratio (TBR), in PAD patients without diabetes (PAD-only: n = 11, 1.97 ± 0.57) compared with matched controls (n = 12, 1.49 ± 0.57; p = 0.009), with a significant further TBR increase in PAD patients with type 2 diabetes (PAD-DM, n = 23, 2.90 ± 1, p = 0.033 vs PAD-only). TBR of insulin users (n = 12, 3.31 ± 1.14) was higher compared with patients on oral medication only (n = 11, 2.44 ± 0.76, p = 0.035), despite comparable PAD severity (Fontaine stages), BMI and CRP. Multivariate regression analysis showed that Hba1c and plasma insulin levels, but not dose of exogenous insulin, correlated with TBR.
CONCLUSIONS: Concurrent diabetes significantly augments carotid arterial wall inflammation in PAD patients. A further increase in those requiring insulin was observed, which was associated with diabetes severity, rather than with the use of exogenous insulin itself.