AIM: Up-regulation of soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L) and of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) has been found in diabetes and in patients with acute cerebral ischemia. We asked whether (i) the two molecules are similarly upregulated among non-lacunar and lacunar diabetic strokes and (ii) sCD40L and/or MCP-1 predict the risk of cardiovascular events in this setting.METHODS: Ninety patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus presenting with an acute ischemic stroke (compared with 45 control subjects) were evaluated on admission and up to 36 months (median 24 months) after the event.RESULTS: Diabetic patients with acute stroke had higher plasma CD40L and MCP-1 than controls (p<0.0001), with no significant differences among lacunar and non-lacunar strokes. On multiple regression analysis, only higher sCD40L quartiles and older age were associated with higher MCP-1 quartiles. Forty-eight percent of patients experienced vascular events. Cox regression analysis showed that only the presence of higher sCD40L values independently predicted the recurrence of vascular events.CONCLUSION: Up-regulation of inflammatory molecules, such as CD40L and MCP-1, is involved in the advanced stage of atherosclerotic cerebro-vascular disease and is associated with increased risk of recurrence of cardiovascular events.