Microvascular Dysfunction and Hyperglycemia: A Vicious Cycle With Widespread Consequences

Microvascular and metabolic physiology are tightly linked. This Perspective reviews evidence that 1) the relationship between hyperglycemia and microvascular dysfunction (MVD) is bidirectional and constitutes a vicious cycle; 2) MVD in diabetes affects many, if not all, organs, which may play a role in diabetes-associated comorbidities such as depression and cognitive impairment; and 3) MVD precedes, and contributes to, hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes (T2D) through impairment of insulin-mediated glucose disposal and, possibly, insulin secretion. Obesity and adverse early-life exposures are important drivers of MVD. MVD can be improved through weight loss (in obesity) and through exercise. Pharmacological interventions to improve MVD are an active area of investigation.