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AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Irreversible arterial damage due to early effects of hypo- or hyperglycaemia could account for the limited success of glucose-lowering treatments in preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. We hypothesised that even brief hypo- or hyperglycaemia could adversely affect arterial gene expression and that these changes, moreover, might not be fully reversible. METHODS: By controlled activation of a 'switchable' c-Myc transgene in beta cells, adult pIns-c-MycER(TAM) mice were rendered transiently hypo- and then hyperglycaemic, after which they were allowed to recover for up to 3 months. Immediate and sequential changes in aortic global gene expression from normal glycaemia through hypo- and hyperglycaemia to recovery were assessed. RESULTS: Gene expression was compared with that of normoglycaemic transgenic and tamoxifen-treated wild-type controls. Overall, expression of 95 genes was significantly affected by moderate hypoglycaemia (glucose down to 2.5 mmol/l), whereas over 769 genes were affected by hyperglycaemia. Genes and pathways activated included several involved in atherogenic processes, such as inflammation and arterial calcification. Although expression of many genes recovered to initial pre-exposure levels when hyperglycaemia was corrected (74.9%), in one in four genes this did not occur. Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR and immunohistochemistry verified the gene expression patterns of key molecules, as shown by global gene arrays. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Short-term exposure to hyperglycaemia can cause deleterious and persistent changes in arterial gene expression in vivo. Brief hypoglycaemia also adversely affects gene expression, although less substantially. Together, these results suggest that early correction of hyperglycaemia and avoidance of hypoglycaemia may both be necessary to avoid excess CVD risk in diabetes.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2676 - 2687


Animals, Arteries, Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental, Disease Models, Animal, Female, Gene Expression, Genes, myc, Glucose, Hyperglycemia, Insulin, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Inbred CBA, Mice, Transgenic, Recovery of Function, Time Factors