The metabolic syndrome is characterized by the clustering of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension and is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, older antihypertensive agents such as thiazide diuretics and β-blockers have potentially adverse effects on glucose and lipid metabolism and may even the exacerbate the metabolic syndrome and increase risk of type 2 diabetes. Recent clinical trials have suggested that antihypertensive agents that inhibit the renin-angiotensin system may reduce risk for new-onset type 2 diabetes, but only a few of these studies were placebo controlled, and in most cases, the absolute antidiabetic effects were relatively modest. Evidence is accumulating that telmisartan, in addition to blocking the angiotensin II type 1 receptor, activates the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ a well-known target for treatment of the metabolic syndrome and diabetes. By contrast, other angiotensin-receptor blockers are largely devoid of activity on PPAR-γ. Telmisartan is a partial agonist of PPAR-γ and has a superior tolerability profile without causing the fluid retention and edema associated with full agonists of PPAR-γ such as pioglitazone and rosiglitazone. Recent studies have indicated that in addition to antidiabetic properties, PPAR-γ activators may also provide protection against atherosclerosis and coronary events. Thus, the ability of telmisartan both to activate PPAR-γ and to block the angiotensin receptor may provide added value not only in the treatment of the metabolic syndrome and prevention of type 2 diabetes but also in prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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