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AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Treatment of vascular complications of diabetes remains inadequate. We reported that muscle pericytes (MPs) from limb muscles of vascular patients with diabetes mellitus display elevated levels of oxidative stress causing a dysfunctional phenotype. Here, we investigated whether treatment with dimethyl-2-oxoglutarate (DM-2OG), a tricarboxylic acid cycle metabolite with antioxidant properties, can restore a healthy metabolic and functional phenotype. METHODS: MPs were isolated from limb muscles of diabetes patients with vascular disease (D-MPs) and from non-diabetic control participants (ND-MPs). Metabolic status was assessed in untreated and DM-2OG-treated (1 mmol/l) cells using an extracellular flux analyser and anion-exchange chromatography-mass spectrometry (IC-MS/MS). Redox status was measured using commercial kits and IC-MS/MS, with antioxidant and metabolic enzyme expression assessed by quantitative RT-PCR and western blotting. Myogenic differentiation and proliferation and pericyte-endothelial interaction were assessed as functional readouts. RESULTS: D-MPs showed mitochondrial dysfunction, suppressed glycolytic activity and reduced reactive oxygen species-buffering capacity, but no suppression of antioxidant systems when compared with ND-MP controls. DM-2OG supplementation improved redox balance and mitochondrial function, without affecting glycolysis or antioxidant systems. Nonetheless, this was not enough for treated D-MPs to regain the level of proliferation and myogenic differentiation of ND-MPs. Interestingly, DM-2OG exerted a positive effect on pericyte-endothelial cell interaction in the co-culture angiogenesis assay, independent of the diabetic status. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: These novel findings support the concept of using DM-2OG supplementation to improve pericyte redox balance and mitochondrial function, while concurrently allowing for enhanced pericyte-endothelial crosstalk. Such effects may help to prevent or slow down vasculopathy in skeletal muscles of people with diabetes. Graphical abstract.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2205 - 2217


2-Oxoglutarate, Diabetes mellitus, Mitochondria, Pericytes, Redox, Vascular protection