Nowotny et al, Biomolecules. 2015 Mar 16;5(1):194-222
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a very complex and multifactorial metabolic disease characterized by insulin resistance and β cell failure leading to elevated blood glucose levels. Hyperglycemia is suggested to be the main cause of diabetic complications, which not only decrease life quality and expectancy, but are also becoming a problem regarding the financial burden for health care systems. Therefore, and to counteract the continually increasing prevalence of diabetes, understanding the pathogenesis, the main risk factors, and the underlying molecular mechanisms may establish a basis for prevention and therapy. In this regard, research was performed revealing further evidence that oxidative stress has an important role in hyperglycemia-induced tissue injury as well as in early events relevant for the development of T2DM. The formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), a group of modified proteins and/or lipids with damaging potential, is one contributing factor. On the one hand it has been reported that AGEs increase reactive oxygen species formation and impair antioxidant systems, on the other hand the formation of some AGEs is induced per se under oxidative conditions. Thus, AGEs contribute at least partly to chronic stress conditions in diabetes. As AGEs are not only formed endogenously, but also derive from exogenous sources, i.e., food, they have been assumed as risk factors for T2DM. However, the role of AGEs in the pathogenesis of T2DM and diabetic complications-if they are causal or simply an effect-is only partly understood. This review will highlight the involvement of AGEs in the development and progression of T2DM and their role in diabetic complications.