Postprandial hyperglycemia interferes with vascular reactivity and is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease. Macronutrient preloads reduce postprandial hyperglycemia in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or type 2 diabetes (T2D), but the effect on endothelial function is unknown. Therefore, we examined whether a protein/lipid preload can attenuate postprandial endothelial dysfunction by lowering plasma glucose responses in subjects with IGT/T2D. Endothelial function was assessed by the reactive hyperemia index (RHI) at fasting, 60 min and 120 min during two 75 g oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) preceded by either water or a macronutrient preload (i.e., egg and parmesan cheese) in 22 volunteers with IGT/T2D. Plasma glucose, insulin, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), glucagon, free fatty acids, and amino acids were measured through each test. RHI negatively correlated with fasting plasma glucose. During the control OGTT, RHI decreased by 9% and its deterioration was associated with the rise in plasma glucose. The macronutrient preload attenuated the decline in RHI and markedly reduced postprandial glycemia. The beneficial effect of the macronutrient preload on RHI was proportional to the improvement in glucose tolerance and was associated with the increase in plasma GLP-1 and arginine levels. In conclusion, a protein/lipid macronutrient preload attenuates glucose-induced endothelial dysfunction in individuals with IGT/T2D by lowering plasma glucose excursions and by increasing GLP-1 and arginine levels, which are known regulators of the nitric oxide vasodilator system.
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