Endocrine Abstracts (2014) 36 OC7.2 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.36.OC7.2

Urinary vitamin E metabolites as a biomarker of oxidative stress in type 1 diabetes

Chloe Bulwer1,2, Kevin Mills1,2, Ernestas Sirka1,2 & Peter Hindmarsh1,2


1Institute of Child Health, UCL, London, UK; 2University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.


Background: Oxidative stress has been implicated in the development and progression of complications in type 1 diabetes (T1DM). Vitamin E (α-tocopherol) undergoes β-oxidation of its chomanol ring and the resulting metabolite α-TLHQ has been proposed as a potential biomarker of oxidative stress. HbA1c relates in T1DM to microvascular complications predominantly although the end-points are late in disease development. The oxidative stress process may act independently of HbA1c and oxidative stress markers may be useful predictors of early vascular damage.

Objective and hypotheses: We aimed to measure the levels of vitamin E metabolites in T1DM and see whether they were elevated when compared with age-matched controls and to relate the measures to HbA1c, mode of insulin therapy and duration of diabetes.

Method: We developed a new assay using triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry to measure vitamin E metabolites α-TLHQ-SO3 and α-TLHQ-glucuronide. Urine samples were analysed from 133 children with T1DM and 88 age-matched controls. All subjects had normal renal function.

Results: Both vitamin E metabolites were significantly higher in T1DM compared to controls: mean α-TLHQ-SO3 (nmol/mmol creatinine) 3.09±0.39 T1DM vs 1.96±0.33 controls (P=0.04); mean α-TLHQ-glucuronide (nmol/mmol creatinine) 76.63±5.65 T1DM vs 47.87±2.16 controls (P<0.0001). No statistically significant differences were seen with HbA1c level, mode of insulin therapy, duration of diabetes or use of continuous glucose monitors.

Conclusion: These results demonstrate that urinary α-TLHQ, a biomarker of oxidative stress, is elevated in T1DM. Further work is required to validate these results and analyse variation with other parameters of diabetic control.

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