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Low dose prednisolone and insulin sensitivity differentially affect arterial stiffness and endothelial function: An open interventional and cross-sectional study.


Background and aims Glucocorticoids could impair vascular function directly, or indirectly by reducing insulin sensitivity. The aim of this study was to determine the direct and indirect effects of acute and chronic low dose prednisolone on arterial stiffness and endothelial function. Methods Twelve subjects with inflammatory arthritis, who had not taken oral glucocorticoids for ≥6 months, and 12 subjects with inflammatory arthritis, taking chronic (>6 months) low dose (6.3 ± 2.2 mg/day) prednisolone, were studied. Patients not on glucocorticoids underwent measurement of arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity (PWV)) and endothelial function (reactive hyperaemia index (RHI)) before and after 7–10 days of prednisolone (6 mg/day), to assess the acute effects of prednisolone. Baseline data from patients not on glucocorticoids were compared with patients on long-term prednisolone to assess the chronic effects of prednisolone. Hepatic insulin sensitivity was estimated from percentage suppression of endogenous glucose production and peripheral insulin sensitivity as glucose infusion rate (M/I) during a hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp. Results There were no significant changes in PWV with acute (9.2 ± 0.8 vs. 8.9 ± 0.8 m/sec, p = 0.33) or chronic (8.9 ± 0.8 vs. 9.0 ± 0.7 m/sec, p = 0.69) prednisolone. In multiple regression analysis, PWV was negatively associated with M/I during hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (p = 0.02), but not with suppression of endogenous glucose production (p = 0.15) or glucocorticoid use (p = 0.70). Chronic (2.4 ± 0.2 vs. 1.9 ± 0.1, p = 0.02), but not acute (1.8 ± 0.2 vs. 1.9 ± 0.1, p = 0.24), prednisolone resulted in a higher RHI. Conclusions Arterial stiffness is not affected by low dose prednisolone per se, but is negatively associated with peripheral insulin sensitivity. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis taking long-term prednisolone had better endothelial function.

Type Journal
Authors Petersons CJ, Mangelsdorf BL, Poljak A, Smith MD, Greenfield JR, Thompson CH, Burt MG.
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Jerry Greenfield
Publisher Name Atherosclerosis
Published Date 2017-03-31
Published Volume 258
Published Pages 34-39
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2017.01.033
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version