Research Article

Low phospholipid arachidonic acid values in diabetic platelets.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 286 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.286.6360.173 (Published 15 January 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;286:173
  1. D B Jones,
  2. R D Carter,
  3. B Haitas,
  4. J I Mann

    Abstract

    Platelet aggregation is enhanced in diabetes mellitus, and platelets may be implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic angiopathy. Increased platelet aggregation is probably mediated by the production of the proaggregatory prostaglandin thromboxane, which is synthesised from arachidonic acid (C20:4) by the action of the platelet enzymes cyclo-oxygenase and thromboxane synthetase. The fatty acid composition of platelet phospholipid was measured in 20 normal controls, 10 insulin-treated diabetics with no or minimal retinopathy, and 10 insulin-treated diabetics with proliferative retinopathy. The percentage of arachidonic acid was significantly higher in controls (mean 22.6%) than in the diabetics with no or minimal retinopathy (mean 18.5%; p less than 0.025) and the diabetics with proliferative retinopathy (mean 14.6%; p less than 0.001). The percentage of linoleic acid was lower in controls (mean 8.9%) than in the diabetics with no or minimal retinopathy (mean 12.6%; p less than 0.01) and diabetics with proliferative retinopathy (mean 13.1%; p less than 0.001). The mean percentage of linolenic acid was significantly lower in the diabetics with proliferative retinopathy (2.7%) than in the normal control group (4.4%; p less than 0.01). A significant negative correlation was found between the percentages of arachidonic acid and glycosylated haemoglobin (Rs = -0.58; p less than 0.001). A significant positive correlation was found between linoleic acid and the percentage of glycosylated haemoglobin (Rs = 0.51; p less than 0.01). The reciprocal correlation between percentages of arachidonic acid and glycosylated haemoglobin suggests that diabetic control may influence thromboxane release and platelet activity directly and that low percentages of arachidonic acid reflect the increased degree of in-vivo activation.