Diabetes is often defined a "vascular disease" because of the early and extensive involvement of the vascular-tree observed in patients with diabetes and even in those at risk of developing diabetes. Both the micro- and macrocirculation are affected. Changes in the micro- and macrocirculation, both anatomical and functional, contribute to the development of diabetic neuropathy. On the other hand, the development of diabetic neuropathy also affects the vasodilatory capacity of the microcirculation. Thus, the interaction between changes in the vas-culature and peripheral nerves is bidirectional and results in changes in both blood flow and neuronal function. The possible links between diabetic micro- and macrovascular alterations and nerve damage will be the focus of this chapter.
Key Words: Blood flow; endothelial dysfunction; micro- and macrocirculation; neuronal function; vascular smooth muscle cell; iontophoresis.
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