OBJECTIVE: Studies examining vasodilatory responses to acetylcholine (ACh) and its derivatives have been conflicting. Enhanced activation of the cyclo-oxygenase pathway and increased availability of vasodilatory prostanoids may occur in type 1 diabetes, and this may compensate for the observed reduction in nitric oxide (NO) activity We examined the role of cyclo-oxygenase inhibition on vasodilatory responses in 12 healthy normotensive type 1 diabetic adults and 12 nondiabetic control subjects of similar age, sex, and BMI. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Forearm blood flow was measured using a venous occlusion plethysmography technique at baseline and after brachial artery infusions of ACh (7.5, 15, and 30 microg/min). Forearm blood flow at baseline and after ACh was then reexamined after local intra-arterial infusion of indomethacin (0.3 mg/100 ml forearm volume), a cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor. RESULTS: Baseline blood flow in the diabetic and control groups were similar (2.65 +/- 0.26 vs. 2.59 +/- 0.20 ml/min per 100 ml, respectively; P = 0.4). After indomethacin infusion, the vasodilatory responses to all doses of ACh were reduced in both the diabetic (by 25.30 +/- 4.90%) and control group (by 11.23 +/- 5.45%). However, the reduction in blood flow response to ACh after indomethacin was greater in diabetic patients compared with control subjects (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that vasodilatory, prostanoids are important in determining endothelial response to ACh in diabetic and nondiabetic subjects. Increased prostaglandin-mediated vasodilation may compensate for attenuated responses to NO previously reported in diabetic subjects. These findings may partly explain the conflicting reports of endothelial dysfunction in patients with type 1 diabetes.

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