We examined the association between the polymorphism of the apolipoprotein E (apoE) and the ACE genes and the intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid and femoral arteries measured using ultrasonography. The values of IMT of each artery were significantly higher in NIDDM patients (n = 356) than in control subjects (n = 235). The E4 allele or the D allele did not affect clinical characteristics, including age, fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or blood pressure, in NIDDM or control subjects. No difference in the carotid IMT value was noted among the apoE genotypes in control or diabetic subjects. The carotid IMT was significantly higher in diabetic patients with the DD genotype (1.200 ± 0.586 mm) than in those with the II genotypes (0.990 ± 0.364 mm). Neither the E4 allele nor the D allele affected the femoral IMT in control or diabetic subjects. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that the carotid IMT of NIDDM patients was associated with age, the D allele, and LDL cholesterol but not with the E4 allele, whereas that of control subjects was associated with age, sex, systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol, inversely. These results suggested that the E4 allele was not associated with the carotid or femoral IMTs, but that the D allele was statistically associated with carotid IMT in NIDDM patients but not control subjects. However, since the association was weak (2.3% explanatory power), its biological significance remains to be determined.

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