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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of free fatty acids on cardiac autonomic nervous system in noninsulin-dependent diabetic patients: effects of metabolic control.

Decreased heart rate variability (HRV) is a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality. Elevated plasma free fatty acid (FFA) levels decrease HRV in healthy subjects. Thus, we investigated the effect of changes in plasma FFA levels on HRV, in non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM) patients. Thirty NIDDM patients free from diabetic neuropathy volunteered for a study made by two phases. In study A, changes in HRV along a 10% lipid emulsion infusion + heparin (n = 15) or saline infusion (control study; n = 15) were investigated. In study B, all patients (n = 30) underwent further determination of HRV after 3 months of improved metabolic control achieved by intensified insulin treatment. In study A, lipid emulsion infusion increased plasma FFA (P < 0.001) and catecholamine concentrations (P < 0.005), mean arterial blood pressure (P < 0.005), low frequency/high frequency (LF/HF) ratio (P < 0.001). Delta plasma FFA levels correlated with delta LF/HF ratio (r = 0.57; P < 0.02). Along with saline infusion, metabolic and cardiovascular parameters remained unchanged throughout the test. In study B, improved metabolic control lowered fasting plasma glucose (P < 0.005), FFA (P < 0.001), norepinephrine (P < 0.02), epinephrine (P < 0.04), and glycosylated hemoglobin levels (P < 0.001), mean arterial blood pressure(P < 0.05), and LF/HF ratio (P < 0.001). Again percent decline in plasma FFA correlated with the percent change in LF/HF ratio (r = 0.72; P < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, percent changes in LF/HF ratio were associated with percent changes in plasma FFA independently of gender and percent changes in body mass index, waist/hip ratio, plasma norepinephrine, epinephrine, glycosylated hemoglobin, and daily insulin therapy. Our study demonstrates that changes in plasma FFA levels may have a parallel effect on cardiac sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system balance in NIDDM patients.[1]


  1. Role of free fatty acids on cardiac autonomic nervous system in noninsulin-dependent diabetic patients: effects of metabolic control. Manzella, D., Barbieri, M., Rizzo, M.R., Ragno, E., Passariello, N., Gambardella, A., Marfella, R., Giugliano, D., Paolisso, G. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (2001) [Pubmed]
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