Background Experimental research indicates that oxidative stress is implica
ted in aging and in the pathogenesis of diabetes and its complications. Thi
s evidence is limited in elderly patients with non-insulin dependent diabet
es, in which age- and disease-related production of reactive oxygen species
might exert synergistic damaging effects on tissues and organs.
Methods Plasma levels of lipid-soluble compounds with antioxidant propertie
s including vitamin A, vitamin E and carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-
cryptoxanthin, lycopene, alpha- and beta-carotene) were measured by HPLC in
72 elderly patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes (75.7+/-0.8 years,
40 F, 32 M) and in 75 age-matched controls (77.2+/-1.2 years, 48 F, 27 M).
Results All compounds measured were significantly lower in plasma from diab
etic patients as compared to controls (p<0.0001). Plasma levels of vitamins
A and E and of carotenoids did not significantly correlate with dietary in
take and lipid profile in both groups. In patients, significant inverse cor
relations were found between age and levels of vitamin E, beta-cryptoxanthi
n, lycopene and beta-carotene.
Conclusions We conclude that patients of very old age with Type 2 diabetes
show a poor plasma status of vitamins A and E and carotenoids, which negati
vely correlates with age. Further studies are needed to explore the possibl
e therapeutic role of lipid-soluble vitamin supplements in elderly diabetic
subjects. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.