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Negative Actions Of Glucose And Consequences Of Hyperglycemia

 

When cells are exposed to abnormally high levels of glucose, they generally are able to reduce the transport of glucose into the cytoplasm, thus maintaining internal glucose concentrations at normal levels. However, some cells cannot quickly decrease glucose transport rates, which results in high glucose levels inside the cell.

Examples of these cells include capillary endothelial cells in the retina, mesangial cells in the renal glomerulus, and neurons and Schwann cells in peripheral nerves. The results can be visual and renal impairment, and neuropathy.

Hyperglycemia also produces global or systemic effects. For example, glucose induces vascular inflammation. Hyperglycemia impairs the immune status of an individual by stimulating inflammatory cytokines and cell adhesion molecules and by inhibiting leukocyte function. Furthermore, hyperglycemia can produce excessive levels of superoxide in endothelial cells, which can then activate the various pathways of microvascular damage.

Finally, hyperglycemia rapidly suppresses endothelium-dependent vasodilation, probably through increased production of oxygen-derived free radicals, which suggests that hyperglycemia might play a role in the development and progression of atherosclerosis.

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