Bromocriptine-QR Therapy Reduces Sympathetic Tone and Ameliorates a Pro-Oxidative/Pro-Inflammatory Phenotype in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells and Plasma of Type 2 Diabetes Subjects

Anthony H. Cincotta, Eugenio Cersosimo, Mariam Alatrach, Michael Ezrokhi, Christina Agyin, John Adams, Robert Chilton, Curtis Triplitt, Bindu Chamarthi, Nicholas Cominos, Ralph A. DeFronzo

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3 Scopus citations


Bromocriptine-QR is a sympatholytic dopamine D2 agonist for the treatment of type 2 diabetes that has demonstrated rapid (within 1 year) substantial reductions in adverse cardiovascular events in this population by as yet incompletely delineated mechanisms. However, a chronic state of elevated sympathetic nervous system activity and central hypodopaminergic function has been demonstrated to potentiate an immune system pro-oxidative/pro-inflammatory condition and this immune phenotype is known to contribute significantly to the advancement of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Therefore, the possibility exists that bromocriptine-QR therapy may reduce adverse cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetes subjects via attenuation of this underlying chronic pro-oxidative/pro-inflammatory state. The present study was undertaken to assess the impact of bromocriptine-QR on a wide range of immune pro-oxidative/pro-inflammatory biochemical pathways and genes known to be operative in the genesis and progression of CVD. Inflammatory peripheral blood mononuclear cell biology is both a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease and also a marker of the body’s systemic pro-inflammatory status. Therefore, this study investigated the effects of 4-month circadian-timed (within 2 h of waking in the morning) bromocriptine-QR therapy (3.2 mg/day) in type 2 diabetes subjects whose glycemia was not optimally controlled on the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist on (i) gene expression status (via qPCR) of a wide array of mononuclear cell pro-oxidative/pro-inflammatory genes known to participate in the genesis and progression of CVD (OXR1, NRF2, NQO1, SOD1, SOD2, CAT, GSR, GPX1, GPX4, GCH1, HMOX1, BiP, EIF2α, ATF4, PERK, XBP1, ATF6, CHOP, GSK3β, NFkB, TXNIP, PIN1, BECN1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR10, MAPK8, NLRP3, CCR2, GCR, L-selectin, VCAM1, ICAM1) and (ii) humoral measures of sympathetic tone (norepinephrine and normetanephrine), whole-body oxidative stress (nitrotyrosine, TBARS), and pro-inflammatory factors (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-18, MCP-1, prolactin, C-reactive protein [CRP]). Relative to pre-treatment status, 4 months of bromocriptine-QR therapy resulted in significant reductions of mRNA levels in PBMC endoplasmic reticulum stress-unfolded protein response effectors [GRP78/BiP (34%), EIF2α (32%), ATF4 (29%), XBP1 (25%), PIN1 (14%), BECN1 (23%)], oxidative stress response proteins [OXR1 (31%), NRF2 (32%), NQO1 (39%), SOD1 (52%), CAT (26%), GPX1 (33%), GPX4 (31%), GCH1 (30%), HMOX1 (40%)], mRNA levels of TLR pro-inflammatory pathway proteins [TLR2 (46%), TLR4 (20%), GSK3β (19%), NFkB (33%), TXNIP (18%), NLRP3 (32%), CCR2 (24%), GCR (28%)], mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory cellular receptor proteins CCR2 and GCR by 24% and 28%, and adhesion molecule proteins L-selectin (35%) and VCAM1 (24%). Relative to baseline, bromocriptine-QR therapy also significantly reduced plasma levels of norepinephrine and normetanephrine by 33% and 22%, respectively, plasma pro-oxidative markers nitrotyrosine and TBARS by 13% and 10%, respectively, and pro-inflammatory factors IL-18, MCP1, IL-1β, prolactin, and CRP by 21%,13%, 12%, 42%, and 45%, respectively. These findings suggest a unique role for circadian-timed bromocriptine-QR sympatholytic dopamine agonist therapy in reducing systemic low-grade sterile inflammation to thereby reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8851
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • bromocriptine
  • cardiovascular disease risk
  • dopamine
  • oxidative stress
  • sterile inflammation
  • sympathetic
  • type 2 diabetes
  • vascular protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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