Serum Sialic Acid and the Long-term Complications of Insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus.

J.K. Powrie, Gerald Watts, M.A. Crook, J.N. Ingham, N.A. Taub, K.M. Shaw

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Elevated serum sialic acid (SSA) predicts cardiovascular disease in the non-diabetic population and is also associated with the presence of microalbuminuria and clinical proteinuria in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes (IDDM). We have studied 121 patients with IDDM of long duration (mean duration 25.2 years) to investigate the relationship of SSA concentrations to the presence of retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy. SSA levels were elevated in patients with retinopathy (0.578 +/- 0.161 g l(-1), n = 98) when compared with those without retinopathy (0.468 +/- 0.145 g l(-1), n = 23, p = 0.002). Patients with nephropathy (urinary albumin:creatinine ratio of > 3 mg mmol(-1) in all of three early morning specimens of urine) also had raised SSA levels (0.625 +/- 0.169 g l(-1), n = 30) compared with those without nephropathy (0.533 +/- 0.160 g l(-1), n = 91, p = 0.006). There was a significant correlation of SSA with urinary albumin:creatinine ratio (correlation coefficient 0.33, p <0.001). SSA levels were not related to the presence or absence of neuropathy (0.567 +/- 0.181 g l(-1), n = 28, vs 0.533 +/- 0.160 g l(-1), n = 93, p = 0.92, respectively). In conclusion, retinopathy and nephropathy but not neuropathy are associated with increased SSA levels in patients with IDDM. The significance of this is not yet clear but it is possible that sialic acid is involved in the pathophysiology of microvascular disease in IDDM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-243
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue numberN/A
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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