To determine effects of metabolic abnormalities associated with diabetes mellitus on proliferation of diploid human cells, cultured human skin fibroblasts and arterial smooth-muscle cells were grown in media containing added glucose in the range often seen in diabetic subjects (10 to 30 mM, 180 to 550 mg./dl.). “High” glucose media enhanced proliferation of fibroblasts, with an “optimal” response at about 18 mM (325 mg./dl.). Equimolar sorbitol gave similar results, with the greatest increase in proliferation occurring at about the same concentration as for glucose (19 mM). Since neither equimolar mannitol nor sucrose produced such effects consistently, these results cannot be explained solely on the basis of hyperosmolarity. In contrast, arterial smooth-muscle cells failed to show a consistent growth response in the presence of either added glucose or sorbitol. These results suggest that studies with cultured human cells may be useful in assessment of responses to components of the disordered metabolic milieu of diabetes. Such studies of arterial smooth-muscle cells should also be useful for investigation of the mechanism of atherosclerosis in diabetes.

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