Our objective was to determine whether the fluorescence of skin collagen, which may reflect the accumulation of advanced glycosylation end products, is increased in young patients with type I (insulindependent) diabetes. Our study design was a crosssectional case-control study in a referral-based diabetic clinic in an academic hospital. Study subjects comprised a convenience sample of 18 type I diabetic patients aged 17–30 yr and 8 age-matched healthy control subjects. The fluorescence of collagen was measured in skin biopsy material. Collagen-linked fluorescence (CLF) was increased in diabetic patients (mean 10.5 [range 5.8–15.8] U/mg) compared with control subjects (7.6 [5.6–10.1] U/mg, P < 0.02). In diabetic patients, CLF was related to age (r = 0.581) and duration of diabetes (r = 0.697) but not concentration of glycosylated hemoglobin (r = 0.082). Partial correlation analysis demonstrated that duration of diabetes is the main factor determining the fluorescence of collagen in these patients. There was a relationship between CLF and presence of diabetic retinopathy after the data were adjusted for patient age and duration of diabetes (P = 0.023). Increased fluorescence of skin collagen can be detected in young type I diabetic patients and is primarily related to duration of diabetes.

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