Association Between Arterial Stiffness and Skin Microvascular Function: The SUVIMAX2 Study and The Maastricht Study

van Sloten TT, Czernichow S, Houben AJ, Protogerou AD, Henry RM, Muris DM, Schram MT, Sep SJ, Dagnelie PC, van der Kallen CJ, Schaper NC, Blacher J, Hercberg S, Levy BI, Stehouwer CD.



It has been hypothesized that arterial stiffness leads to generalized microvascular dysfunction and that individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are particularly prone to the detrimental effects of arterial stiffness. However, evidence for an association between stiffness and markers of generalized microvascular dysfunction is lacking. We therefore investigated the association between arterial stiffnessand skin microvascular function in individuals without and with T2DM.


Cross-sectional data were used of The Supplementation en Vitamines et Mineraux Antioxydants 2 (SUVIMAX2) Study (n = 284/62.2 years/48.6% women/0% T2DM (by design)) and The Maastricht Study (n = 737/59.7 years/45.2% women/28.8% T2DM (by design)). Arterial stiffness was determined by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV). Skin capillaroscopy was used to determine capillary density at baseline, and during reactive hyperemia and venous congestion. Laser Doppler flowmetry was used to assess acetylcholine- and local heating-induced vasoreactivity, and skin flowmotion.


In The SUVIMAX2 Study, cfPWV (per +1 SD) was not associated with baseline capillary density (regression coefficient: -0.48 (95% confidence interval: 2.37; 1.41)) or capillary recruitment during venous congestion (0.54% (-0.74; 1.81%)). In addition, cfPWV was not associated with acetylcholine (-0.02% (-0.14; 0.10%)) or local heating-induced vasoreactivity (0.03% (-0.07; 0.12%)). In The MaastrichtStudy, in individuals without T2DM, cfPWV was not associated with baseline capillary density (-1.20 (-3.17; 0.77)), and capillary recruitment during reactive hyperemia (1.22% (-0.41; 2.84%)) or venous congestion (1.50% (-0.25; 3.25%)). In addition, cfPWV was not associated with flowmotion (-0.01 (-0.07; 0.06)). Results were adjusted for age and sex. Additional adjustments for confounders did not materially change these results. Results were qualitatively similar in individuals with T2DM.


Arterial stiffness is not associated with skin microvascular function, irrespective of the presence of T2DM.