123I-labeled metaiodobenzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) scintigraphy is a novel technique for the assessment of cardiac sympathetic dysinnervation. To evaluate defects of the cardiac autonomic nervous system at the onset of IDDM, this technique together with conventional electrocardiogram (ECG)-based cardiac reflex tests and measurement of the QT interval was applied to 22 newly diagnosed metabolically stabilized IDDM patients without myocardial perfusion abnormalities (99mTc-labeled methoxyisobutylisonitrile scintigraphy) and 9 matched control subjects. Seventeen diabetic patients (77%), but none of the control subjects, were observed to have a reduced global myocardial uptake of 123I-MIBG. In contrast, only two diabetic patients (9%) demonstrated an ECG-based cardiac autonomic neuropathy (two or more of five age-related cardiac reflex tests abnormal) (P < 0.001). In newly diagnosed IDDM patients, the uptake of 123I-MIBG was reduced more in the posterior myocardial region compared with the lateral and apical region (P < 0.01, P = 0.03). The septal myocardial region exhibited a smaller uptake than the lateral myocardial region (P = 0.02). The maximum/minimum 30:15 ratio correlated with the global, anterior, lateral, and septal myocardial uptake of 123I-MIBG (P < 0.05, P < 0.05, P < 0.01, P < 0.05). A correlation between global and regional myocardial 123IMIBG uptake and HbAlc or QT interval was not observed. Newly diagnosed metabolically stabilized IDDM patients without myocardial perfusion defects show evidence of cardiac sympathetic dysinnervation, as indicated by a reduction of 123I-MIBG uptake, at a significant higher proportion than ECG-based cardiac autonomic neuropathy. Furthermore, they present with regional differences of myocardial 123I-MIBG uptake.

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