Aldose reductase, the first enzyme of the polyol pathway, has been related to the pathogenesis of diabetic complications. The regulation of the enzyme in diabetes patients, however, has not yet been clarified. We recently reported that the activity of aldose reductase was increased in erythrocytes of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients but short-term hyperglycemia did not affect the enzyme activity. It is still unclear, however, whether or not the increase in the enzyme activity is caused by long-term hyperglycemia and thus would be seen equally in both type I (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) and type 2 (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) individuals. To further clarify these issues we measured erythrocyte aldose reductase activity in 46 type I patients and 30 type II patients who had variable glucose control and in 16 nondiabetic subjects. We compared the enzyme activity with plasma glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c levels. The results show that erythrocyte aldose reductase activity is increased in both type I and type II patients as compared with nondiabetic subjects (7.1 ± 0.3 U/L and 6.8 ± 0.4 U/L erythrocytes versus 5.6 ± 0.2 U/L erythrocytes, p < 0.001 and p < 0.01, respectively), but there were no significant differences between the two groups of diabetic patients. The enzyme activity varied by approximately four times among the diabetic individuals but there was no correlation between the enzyme activity and plasma glucose or hemoglobin A1c levels. We conclude that the increased activity of erythrocyte aldose reductase seen in diabetes is not related to hyperglycemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism