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Lowering Cholesterol Levels May Worsen Nerve Damage in T2DM

WEDNESDAY, June 5, 2019 -- Lowering serum cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes is associated with diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN), according to a study published online May 31 in JAMA Network Open.

Johann M.E. Jende, M.D., from Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany, and colleagues assessed the association between serum cholesterol levels and peripheral nerve lesions in patients with type 2 diabetes both with and without DPN. One hundred participants (mean age, 64.6 years; 68 percent male) underwent magnetic resonance neurography of the right leg, as well as clinical, serologic, and electrophysiologic assessment.

The researchers found that the lipid equivalent lesion (LEL) load positively correlated with the nerve's mean cross-sectional area and the maximum length of a lesion. A negative association was noted between LEL load and total serum cholesterol level, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, nerve conduction velocities of the tibial and peroneal nerves, and nerve conduction amplitudes of the tibial and peroneal nerves.

"These findings may be relevant to emerging therapies that promote an aggressive lowering of serum cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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