The increase of arteriosclerosis in people with diabetes is well known. One of the key causes of arteriosclerosis is the binding of monocytes (large white blood cells found in circulating blood) to the cells that make up the lining of the heart. However, the effect of high blood sugar on the rate of monocyte binding has not been known.
In a recent study, researchers in Los Angeles exposed heart tissue to acute and chronic elevated glucose levels and measured the rate of monocyte binding. The results of the study indicate that acute exposure (20 minutes) to elevated blood glucose levels caused no alteration in monocyte binding, while chronic exposure (the specific length of time is not available) definately caused an increase, suggesting that chronic high blood sugar can accelerate arteriosclerosis in Type I diabetes by increasing monocyte binding to the cells lining the wall of the heart.