The aim of this article is to investigate the relation of the anti-inflammatory effect of pioglitazone with cardiac autonomic function and metabolic control in diabetic patients. In this prospective open label trial, 36 type 2 diabetic patients (age 60 +/- 10, 20 M) without overt cardiovascular disease were randomized to add pioglitazone (30 mg) to their therapy or to continue standard therapy. C-reactive protein (CRP) serum levels, metabolic parameters and cardiac autonomic function (assessed by heart rate variability [HRV] on 24-h ECG Holter monitoring) were measured at baseline and after 3 months. Clinical and laboratory variables were similar in the two groups. No significant changes were observed after 3 months for metabolic and anthropometric parameters, except for a mild increase in HDL levels in the pioglitazone group only (P = 0.04 vs. controls). CRP levels decreased significantly at follow-up in the pioglitazone group (3.2 +/- 1.97 vs. 2.37 +/- 1.56 mg/l) but not in the control group (3.0 +/- 1.92 vs. 3.93 +/- 2.14 mg/l; P = 0.003). No differences were found in basal and follow-up HRV variables between the two groups. In type 2 diabetic patients pioglitazone exerts favourable effects on inflammation even after short-term therapy. This effect precedes those on metabolic and anthropometric parameters and is not associated with changes in cardiac autonomic function.
- heart rate variability