Longitudinal evaluation of endothelial function in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus: A long-term follow-up study




Type 1 diabetes (T1DM) predisposes to cardiovascular disease, increasing the risk to develop atherosclerosis. In the pediatric population, the cardiovascular risk may be evaluated examining endothelial function by a non-invasive ultrasound technique, namely flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery. The aims of this study were the longitudinal evaluation of the potential change in the endothelium-dependent vasomotor function in children and adolescents with T1DM and the identification of clinical and laboratory data correlated to modifications.


We studied 39 T1DM patients (20 girls and 19 boys; aged 11.2 ± 3.72 years). FMD and blood samples were obtained from all patients at baseline (time 0) and after a follow up of at least 1 year (time 1). FMD was also evaluated in 45 healthy controls (22 boys, 23 girls) aged 10.2 ± 3.05 years.


At time 0, 43.6% of T1DM patients presented an impaired FMD. FMD at time 1 revealed a dramatic impairment of endothelial function: altered FMD values were shown in 61.5% of patients and it got worse in 74.3% of them. Longitudinally, boys had a greater impairment of FMD than girls. At baseline, multivariate analysis identified only sex as significant predictor of FMD (β = 0.470, P = 0.029).


Because endothelial dysfunction appears earlier in diabetic children, they are at higher risk to develop atherosclerosis. Our results suggest the usefulness of FMD as a tool to stratify pediatric T1DM patients according to their cardiovascular risk and to follow them up longitudinally.