The association between clinical autonomic dysfunction and myocardial MIBG accumulation was investigated. The study groups comprised 6 male diabetic patients with autonomic neuropathy (ANP+ group), 6 male diabetic patients without autonomic neuropathy (ANP- group), and 6 male nondiabetic control subjects. The mean age was comparable in all groups, and the subjects had no evidence of coronary heart disease. Reduced heart-rate variation in a deep-breathing test was used as a criterion for autonomic neuropathy. Immediately after injection, the peak net influx rate of MIBG to myocardium was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced in both diabetic groups. At 6 hr after MIBG injection, the MIBG uptake of the myocardium was significantly (P < 0.05) smaller in the ANP+ group than in the control group. In the ANP- group, the MIBG uptake of the myocardium was between that of the ANP+ group and that of the control group. Our data show that reduced myocardial MIBG accumulation is associated with autonomic dysfunction in diabetic patients, but it can occur to a lesser extent also in diabetic patients without apparent autonomic neuropathy. The measurement of the myocardial MIBG accumulation is a promising new method to detect cardiac sympathetic nervous dysfunction in diabetic patients.

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