Aims: Oxidative stress is a driver in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) complications. As thiols (R-SH) are oxidized by reactive oxygen and sulfur species, circulating concentrations may directly reflect systemic redox status. We hypothesized that high serum R-SH concentrations are a reflection of a favourable redox status and may therefore positively associate with disease status.
Methods: R-SH were measured in serum of 943 T2DM outpatients (55% males, 65 years and HbA1c of 6.7% (50 mmol/mol)) with a follow-up period of 1.2 years.
Results: In the highest R-SH tertile patients were younger, more often men, had less microvascular complications, lower HbA1c and were more often treated nutritionally or with oral glucose-lowering drugs. Age-and sex adjusted hazard ratios for developing micro-, macro- or any complication plus death were 0.994, 0.992 and 0.993: even after adjustment for potential confounders. The Harrell's C statistic to predict microvascular complications or any complication plus death was higher in the models with R-SH than in those without R-SH.
Conclusions: Although R-SH concentrations were associated with a favourable disease status, it did not add to the predictive capacity for long-term complications. Based on the current data R-SH seems unsuitable as a prognostic marker in T2DM.