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January 2007

Benfotiamine relieves inflammatory and neuropathic pain in rats.

Benfotiamine has shown therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy in human beings. However, so far there is no evidence about the efficacy of this drug in preclinical models of pain. The purpose of this study was to assess the possible antinociceptive and antiallodynic effect of benfotiamine in inflammatory and neuropathic pain models in the rat. Inflammatory pain was induced by injection of formalin in non-diabetic and diabetic (2 weeks) rats. Reduction of flinching behavior was considered as antinociception. Neuropathic pain was induced by either ligation of left L5/L6 spinal nerves or administration of streptozotocin (50 mg/kg, i.p.) in Wistar rats. Benfotiamine significantly reduced inflammatory (10-300 mg/kg) and neuropathic (75-300 mg/kg) nociception in non-diabetic and diabetic rats. Results indicate that oral administration of benfotiamine is able to reduce tactile allodynia from different origin in the rat and they suggest the use of this drug to reduce inflammatory and neuropathic pain in humans.

Eur J Pharmacol. 2006 Jan 13;530(1-2):48-53

Thiamine (vitamin B(1)) improves endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in the presence of hyperglycemia.

Brachial artery vasoactivity (BAVA) is a reliable, noninvasive method of assessing endothelium-dependent vasodilatation (EDV) in vivo. Acute hyperglycemia, impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and diabetes mellitus impair EDV, a precursor to atherosclerosis. Thiamine is a coenzyme important in intracellular glucose metabolism. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of thiamine on BAVA in the presence of hyperglycemia. Ten healthy subjects (group H, mean age 27 years), 10 patients with impaired glucose tolerance by World Health Organization criteria (group IGT, mean age 65 years), and 10 patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (group NIDDM, mean age 50 years) were studied. Duplex ultrasound was used to measure brachial artery flow changes in response to reactive hyperemia following brachial artery tourniquet occlusion for 5 min. This test was performed after a 10 hr fast and at 30, 60, and 120 min after a 75 g oral glucose challenge along with measurements of blood glucose level (BGL). A week later, BAVA evaluation was repeated after administration of 100 mg of intravenous thiamine. BAVA (% increased blood flow) at peak and trough BGL was compared with and without thiamine. BAVA at peak glucose improved from 69.0 +/- 6.4% to 152.8 +/- 22.9% in group H (p < 0.005), from 57.6 +/- 12.6% to 139.7 +/- 12.4% in group IGT (p < 0.005), and from 57.8 +/- 8.3% to 167.8 +/- 11.6% in group NIDDM (p < 0.005) following administration of thiamine. On the other hand, at trough glucose levels, BAVA remained essentially unchanged in group H (prethiamine 83.8 +/- 6.5% vs. post-thiamine 83.8 +/- 17.0%, p > 0.05) as well as group IGT (prethiamine 96.7 +/- 8.5% vs. post-thiamine 104.0 +/- 17.4%, p > 0.05). BAVA at trough glucose was not measured in group NIDDM secondary to trough BGL > 140 mg/dL. EDV was improved by thiamine in the presence of hyperglycemia in healthy subjects and in patients with IGT and NIDDM. The mechanism by which thiamine improves EDV is not due to a glucose-lowering effect as thiamine had no effect on EDV under normoglycemic conditions. Routine administration of thiamine might improve endothelial function and therefore slow the development and progression of atherosclerosis, especially in patients with IGT and NIDDM who are prone to develop accelerated atherosclerosis.

Ann Vasc Surg. 2006 May 31

A review of the biochemistry, metabolism and clinical benefits of thiamin(e) and its derivatives.

Thiamin(e), also known as vitamin B1, is now known to play a fundamental role in energy metabolism. Its discovery followed from the original early research on the ‘anti-beriberi factor’ found in rice polishings. After its synthesis in 1936, it led to many years of research to find its action in treating beriberi, a lethal scourge known for thousands of years, particularly in cultures dependent on rice as a staple. This paper refers to the previously described symptomatology of beriberi, emphasizing that it differs from that in pure, experimentally induced thiamine deficiency in human subjects. Emphasis is placed on some of the more unusual manifestations of thiamine deficiency and its potential role in modern nutrition. Its biochemistry and pathophysiology are discussed and some of the less common conditions associated with thiamine deficiency are reviewed. An understanding of the role of thiamine in modern nutrition is crucial in the rapidly advancing knowledge applicable to Complementary Alternative Medicine. References are given that provide insight into the use of this vitamin in clinical conditions that are not usually associated with nutritional deficiency. The role of allithiamine and its synthetic derivatives is discussed. Thiamine plays a vital role in metabolism of glucose. Thus, emphasis is placed on the fact that ingestion of excessive simple carbohydrates automatically increases the need for this vitamin. This is referred to as high calorie malnutrition.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 Mar;3(1):49-59

The role of AGEs and AGE inhibitors in diabetic cardiovascular disease.

Prolonged hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia and oxidative stress in diabetes result in the production and accumulation of AGEs. It is now clear that AGEs contribute to the development and progression of cardiovascular disease in diabetes, as well as other complications. AGEs are thought to act through receptor-independent and dependent mechanisms to promote vascular damage, fibrosis and inflammation associated with accelerated atherogenesis. As a result, novel therapeutic agents to reduce the accumulation of AGEs in diabetes have gained interest as potential cardioprotective approaches. A variety of agents have been developed which are examined in detail in this review. These include aminoguanidine, ALT-946, pyridoxamine, benfotiamine, OPB-9195, alagebrium chloride, N-phenacylthiazolium bromide and LR-90. In addition, it has been demonstrated that a number of established therapies have the ability to reduce the accumulation of AGEs in diabetes including ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor antagonists, metformin, peroxisome proliferators receptor agonists, metal chelators and some antioxidants. The fact that many of these inhibitors of AGEs are effective in experimental models, despite their disparate mechanisms of action, supports the keystone role of AGEs in diabetic vascular damage. Nonetheless, the clinical utility of AGE inhibition remains to be firmly established. Optimal metabolic and blood pressure control, that is achieved early and sustained indefinitely, remains the best recourse for inhibition of AGEs until more specific interventions become a clinical reality.

Curr Drug Targets. 2005 Jun;6(4):453-74

Benfotiamine accelerates the healing of ischaemic diabetic limbs in mice through protein kinase B/Akt-mediated potentiation of angiogenesis and inhibition of apoptosis.

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Benfotiamine, a vitamin B1 analogue, reportedly prevents diabetic microangiopathy. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether benfotiamine is of benefit in reparative neovascularisation using a type I diabetes model of hindlimb ischaemia. We also investigated the involvement of protein kinase B (PKB)/Akt in the therapeutic effects of benfotiamine. METHODS: Streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice, given oral benfotiamine or vehicle, were subjected to unilateral limb ischaemia. Reparative neovascularisation was analysed by histology. The expression of Nos3 and Casp3 was evaluated by real-time PCR, and the activation state of PKB/Akt was assessed by western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. The functional importance of PKB/Akt in benfotiamine-induced effects was investigated using a dominant-negative construct. RESULTS: Diabetic muscles showed reduced transketolase activity, which was corrected by benfotiamine. Importantly, benfotiamine prevented ischaemia-induced toe necrosis, improved hindlimb perfusion and oxygenation, and restored endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Histological studies revealed the improvement of reparative neovascularisation and the inhibition of endothelial and skeletal muscle cell apoptosis. In addition, benfotiamine prevented the vascular accumulation of advanced glycation end products and the induction of pro-apoptotic caspase-3, while restoring proper expression of Nos3 and Akt in ischaemic muscles. The benefits of benfotiamine were nullified by dominant-negative PKB/Akt. In vitro, benfotiamine stimulated the proliferation of human EPCs, while inhibiting apoptosis induced by high glucose. In diabetic mice, the number of circulating EPCs was reduced, with the deficit being corrected by benfotiamine. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: We have demonstrated, for the first time, that benfotiamine aids the post-ischaemic healing of diabetic animals via PKB/Akt-mediated potentiation of angiogenesis and inhibition of apoptosis. In addition, benfotiamine combats the diabetes-induced deficit in endothelial progenitor cells.

Diabetologia. 2006 Feb;49(2):405-20. Epub 2006 Jan 17

Benfotiamine counteracts glucose toxicity effects on endothelial progenitor cell differentiation via Akt/FoxO signaling.

Dysfunction of mature endothelial cells is thought to play a major role in both micro- and macrovascular complications of diabetes. However, recent advances in biology of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have highlighted their involvement in diabetes complications. To determine the effect of glucotoxicity on EPCs, human EPCs have been isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of healthy donors and cultured in the presence or absence of high glucose (33 mmol/l) or high glucose plus benfotiamine to scavenge glucotoxicity. Morphological analysis revealed that high glucose significantly affected the number of endothelial cell colony forming units, uptake and binding of acLDL and Lectin-1, and the ability to differentiate into CD31- and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2-positive cells. Functional analysis outlined a reduced EPC involvement in de novo tube formation, when cocultured with mature endothelial cells (human umbilical vein endothelial cells) on matrigel. To explain the observed phenotypes, we have investigated the signal transduction pathways known to be involved in EPC growth and differentiation. Our results indicate that hyperglycemia impairs EPC differentiation and that the process can be restored by benfotiamine administration, via the modulation of Akt/FoxO1 activity.

Diabetes. 2006 Aug;55(8):2231-7

Benfotiamine prevents macro- and microvascular endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress following a meal rich in advanced glycation end products in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

OBJECTIVE: Diabetes is characterized by marked postprandial endothelial dysfunction induced by hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and dicarbonyls (e.g., methylglyoxal [MG]). In vitro hyperglycemia-induced MG formation and endothelial dysfunction could be blocked by benfotiamine, but in vivo effects of benfotiamine on postprandial endothelial dysfunction and MG synthesis have not been investigated in humans until now. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Thirteen people with type 2 diabetes were given a heat-processed test meal with a high AGE content (HAGE; 15.100 AGE kU, 580 kcal, 54 g protein, 17 g lipids, and 48 g carbohydrates) before and after a 3-day therapy with benfotiamine (1,050 mg/day). Macrovascular flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and microvascular reactive hyperemia, along with serum markers of endothelial disfunction (E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, and intracellular adhesion molecule-1), oxidative stress, AGE, and MG were measured during both test meal days after an overnight fast and then at 2, 4, and 6 h postprandially. RESULTS: The HAGE induced a maximum reactive hyperemia decrease of -60.0% after 2 h and a maximum FMD impairment of -35.1% after 4 h, without affecting endothelium-independent vasodilatation. The effects of HAGE on both FMD and reactive hyperemia were completely prevented by benfotiamine. Serum markers of endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress, as well as AGE, increased after HAGE. These effects were significantly reduced by benfotiamine. CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirms micro- and macrovascular endothelial dysfunction accompanied by increased oxidative stress following a real-life, heat-processed, AGE-rich meal in individuals with type 2 diabetes and suggests benfotiamine as a potential treatment.

Diabetes Care. 2006 Sep;29(9):2064-71

Benfotiamine in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy—a three-week randomized, controlled pilot study (BEDIP study).

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of benfotiamine administered over three weeks (allithiamine; a lipid-soluble vitamin B1 prodrug with high bioavailability) to patients with diabetic polyneuropathy in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, two-center pilot study. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Forty inpatients (23 male, 18 female, age range 18 - 70 years) with a history of type 1 or 2 diabetes and polyneuropathy of not longer than two years, were included in the study. Twenty Patients received two 50 mg benfotiamine tablets four times daily and 20 patients received placebo over the three-week study period. Two clinical units were involved with 10 patients receiving placebo and 10 patients benfotiamine in each. The neuropathy score according to Katzenwadel et al. [1987] was used to evaluate symptoms of polyneuropathy, vibration perception threshold and both the physician’s and the patient’s own assessment were documented. RESULTS: A statistically significant (p = 0.0287) improvement in the neuropathy score was observed in the group given active drug when compared to the placebo-treated controls. There was no statistically significant change observed in the tuning fork test. The most pronounced effect on complaints was a decrease in pain (p = 0.0414). More patients in the benfotiamine-treated group than in the placebo group considered their clinical condition to have improved (p = 0.052). No side effects attributable to benfotiamine were observed. The differences between the groups cannot be attributed to a change in metabolic parameters since there were no significant alterations in the HbA1 levels and blood sugar profiles. The body mass index of the two groups did not differ. CONCLUSION: This pilot investigation (BEDIP Study) has confirmed the results of two earlier randomized controlled trials and has provided further evidence

Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Feb;43(2):71-7

Benfotiamine is similar to thiamine in correcting endothelial cell defects induced by high glucose.

We investigated the hypothesis that benfotiamine, a lipophilic derivative of thiamine, affects replication delay and generation of advanced glycosylation end-products (AGE) in human umbilical vein endothelial cells cultured in the presence of high glucose. Cells were grown in physiological (5.6 mM) and high (28.0 mM) concentrations of D-glucose, with and without 150 microM thiamine or benfotiamine. Cell proliferation was measured by mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity. AGE generation after 20 days was assessed fluorimetrically. Cell replication was impaired by high glucose (72.3%+/-5.1% of that in physiological glucose, p=0.001). This was corrected by the addition of either thiamine (80.6%+/-2.4%, p=0.005) or benfotiamine (87.5%+/-8.9%, p=0.006), although it not was completely normalized (p=0.001 and p=0.008, respectively) to that in physiological glucose. Increased AGE production in high glucose (159.7%+/-38.9% of fluorescence in physiological glucose, p=0.003) was reduced by thiamine (113.2%+/-16.3%, p=0.008 vs. high glucose alone) or benfotiamine (135.6%+/-49.8%, p=0.03 vs. high glucose alone) to levels similar to those observed in physiological glucose. Benfotiamine, a derivative of thiamine with better bioavailability, corrects defective replication and increased AGE generation in endothelial cells cultured in high glucose, to a similar extent as thiamine. These effects may result from normalization of accelerated glycolysis and the consequent decrease in metabolites that are extremely active in generating nonenzymatic protein glycation. The potential role of thiamine administration in the prevention or treatment of vascular complications of diabetes deserves further investigation.

Acta Diabetol. 2001;38(3):135-8

Vascular function in patients with lower extremity peripheral arterial disease: a comparison of functions in upper and lower extremities.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is caused by atherosclerosis. Assessment of endothelial function in patients with PAD has been limited to that in forearm circulation in previous studies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate vascular function in upper and lower extremities in patients with PAD and to determine the relationship between the ankle-brachial pressure index (ABPI) and endothelial function in forearm and leg circulation. Forearm blood flow (FBF) and leg blood flow (LBF) responses to reactive hyperemia and sublingual administration of nitroglycerin (NTG) were measured using strain-gauge plethysmography in 57 PAD patients and 24 control patients. LBF during reactive hyperemia was significantly less in PAD patients than in control patients (p<0.001). FBF during reactive hyperemia in PAD patients was similar to that in control patients. NTG-induced vasodilation in upper and lower extremities was similar in the two groups. There was a significant relationship between the maximal LBF response to reactive hyperemia and the ABPI in both the patients with PAD and control patients (r=0.384, p<0.001), whereas maximal FBF response to reactive hyperemia was not correlated with ABPI (r=0.182, p=0.12). These findings suggest that LBF response to reactive hyperemia is impaired in PAD patients compared with that in control patients. Impairment of vascular reactivity of leg circulation may occur before impairment of vascular reactivity of forearm circulation in PAD patients and may be a better indicator of the degree of PAD than impairment of vascular reactivity of forearm circulation.

Atherosclerosis. 2005 Jan;178(1):179-85

Circulating endothelial progenitor cells are reduced in peripheral vascular complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to establish whether a reduction in endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) has a putative role in peripheral vascular disease (PVD) of type 2 diabetic patients. BACKGROUND: Peripheral vascular disease is a common and severe complication of diabetes mellitus. Impaired collateralization of diabetic vasculopathy has been extensively shown, but causes leading to its pathogenesis are not fully understood. Recently, EPCs have been found to contribute to vascular repair and angiogenesis. Diabetes has been associated with low levels of circulating EPCs, but no data are available in the literature on the relationship between EPCs and PVD in diabetes. METHODS: Flow cytometric analysis was used to quantify circulating progenitor cells (CPCs, CD34+) and EPCs (CD34+KDR+) in 51 patients and 17 control subjects. RESULTS: The CPCs and EPCs from diabetic patients were reduced by 33% and 40%, respectively, compared with healthy subjects (p < 0.001). An inverse correlation was found between the number of EPCs and the values of fasting glucose (r = -0.49, p = 0.006). Peripheral vascular disease was associated with a 47% reduction in EPCs (p < 0.0001) and EPC levels directly correlated with the ankle-brachial index (r = 0.70, p = 0.01). The subgroup of diabetic patients with PVD also had reduced CPCs by 32% (p = 0.037), whereas patients with ischemic foot lesions had the lowest levels of both EPCs and CPCs (p = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate decreased EPC levels in diabetic patients and, for the first time, show that PVD is associated with an extensively low number of EPCs. Depletion of circulating EPCs in diabetic patients may be involved in the pathogenesis of peripheral vascular complications.

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005 May 3;45(9):1449-57

Morbidity and mortality in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus after the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy.

One to ten years after laser coagulation for diabetic retinopathy, 229 type I diabetics (mean age 44.3 years) and 157 type II diabetics (mean age 65 years) were re-studied for morbidity and mortality (progression of late damage, duration of survival, cause of death). The duration of diabetes at the first laser coagulation averaged 23.1 years for type I diabetics (15.9 years for type II). Average period from the first laser coagulation to the re-examination was 6.5 years for type I, 5.1 for type II diabetics. Of those patients still alive 6.7% had gone blind (type II: 7.3%). 2.1% and 4.6%, respectively, were receiving dialysis treatment, while renal transplantation had been performed in 3.1 and 1.8%, respectively. Stroke was the most frequent macrovascular complications (8.4 and 16.5%), followed by leg amputation (3.6 and 14.7%) and myocardial infarction (3.7 and 18.3%). 83 patients had died: 35 (15.3%) type I and 48 (30.6%) type II diabetics. Causes of death were septicaemia 14.3% (0%), uraemia 11.4% (8.3%), myocardial infarction 14.3% (33.3%), heart failure 8.6% (29.2%) and stroke 5.7% (6.3%). 10.7% (24.2%) had died within the first 5 years after laser coagulation. Despite a lower incidence of blindness in patients with diabetic retinopathy, the vascular disease progresses in other vascular regions so that a large proportion of diabetics will develop renal failure or die early from macrovascular complications.

Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 1992 Nov 6;117(45):1703-8