Dietary nitrate prevents progression of carotid subclinical atherosclerosis through blood pressure-independent mechanisms in patients with or at risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2021 May 13. Epub 2021 May 13. PMID: 33982797
AIMS: To test if 6 months' intervention with dietary nitrate and spironolactone could affect carotid subclinical atherosclerosis and stiffness, respectively, vs. placebo/doxazosin, to control for blood pressure (BP).
METHODS: A subgroup of participants in our double-blind, randomized-controlled, factorial VaSera trial had carotid imaging. Patients with hypertension and with/at risk of type 2 diabetes were randomized to active nitrate-containing beetroot juice or placebo nitrate-depleted juice, and spironolactone or doxazosin. Vascular ultrasound for carotid diameter (CD, mm) and intima-media thickness (CIMT, mm) was performed at baseline, 3- and 6-months. Carotid local stiffness (CS, m/s) was estimated from aortic pulse pressure (Arteriograph) and carotid lumen area. Data were analysed by modified intention to treat and using mixed-model effect, adjusted for confounders.
RESULTS: In total, 93 subjects had a baseline evaluation and 86% had follow-up data. No statistical interactions occurred between the juice and drug arms and BP was similar between the juices and between the drugs. Nitrate-containing vs. placebo juice significantly lowered CIMT (-0.06 [95% confidence interval -0.12, -0.01], P = .034), an overall difference of ~8% relative to baseline; but had no effect on CD or CS. Doxazosin appeared to reduce CS from baseline (-0.34 [-0.62, -0.06]) however, no difference was detected vs. spironolactone (-0.15 [-0.46, 0.16]). No differences were detected between spironolactone or doxazosin on CIMT and CD.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that 6 months' intervention with dietary nitrate influences vascular remodelling, but not carotid stiffness or diameter. Neither spironolactone nor doxazosin had a BP-independent effect on carotid structure and function.