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BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with coronary microvascular dysfunction in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD). Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) T1-mapping at rest and during adenosine stress can assess coronary vascular reactivity. We hypothesised that the non-contrast T1 response to vasodilator stress will be altered in patients with T2DM without CAD compared to controls due to coronary microvascular dysfunction. METHODS: Thirty-one patients with T2DM and sixteen matched healthy controls underwent CMR (3 T) for cine, rest and adenosine stress non-contrast T1-mapping (ShMOLLI), first-pass perfusion and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging. Significant CAD (>50% coronary luminal stenosis) was excluded in all patients by coronary computed tomographic angiography. RESULTS: All subjects had normal left ventricular (LV) ejection and LV mass index, with no LGE. Myocardial perfusion reserve index (MPRI) was lower in T2DM than in controls (1.60 ± 0.44 vs 2.01 ± 0.42; p = 0.008). There was no difference in rest native T1 values (p = 0.59). During adenosine stress, T1 values increased significantly in both T2DM patients (from 1196 ± 32 ms to 1244 ± 44 ms, p < 0.001) and controls (from 1194 ± 26 ms to 1273 ± 44 ms, p < 0.001). T2DM patients showed blunted relative stress non-contrast T1 response (T2DM: ΔT1 = 4.1 ± 2.9% vs. CONTROLS: ΔT1 = 6.6 ± 2.6%, p = 0.007) due to a blunted maximal T1 during adenosine stress (T2DM 1244 ± 44 ms vs. controls 1273 ± 44 ms, p = 0.045). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with well controlled T2DM, even in the absence of arterial hypertension and significant CAD, exhibit blunted maximal non-contrast T1 response during adenosine vasodilatory stress, likely reflecting coronary microvascular dysfunction. Adenosine stress and rest T1 mapping can detect subclinical abnormalities of the coronary microvasculature, without the need for gadolinium contrast agents. CMR may identify early features of the diabetic heart phenotype and subclinical cardiac risk markers in patients with T2DM, providing an opportunity for early therapeutic intervention.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cardiovasc Magn Reson

Publication Date





Cardiovascular magnetic resonance, Diabetes mellitus, Microvascular obstruction, Myocardial perfusion, ShMOLLI T1-mapping