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      Effects of Insulin on Endothelial and Contractile Function of Subcutaneous Small Resistance Arteries of Hypertensive and Diabetic Patients


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          The effect of insulin on the vasoconstriction induced by norepinephrine is at present controversial. We have previously demonstrated that high-concentration insulin may induce an increased reactivity to norepinephrine in mesenteric small resistance arteries of spontaneously hypertensive rats. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of low- and high-concentration insulin on the concentration-response curves to norepinephrine and acetylcholine in subcutaneous small resistance arteries of hypertensive and diabetic patients. Twelve normotensive subjects (NT), 11 patients with essential hypertension (EH), 8 patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), and 8 patients with both EH and NIDDM (EH + NIDDM) were included in the study. Subcutaneous small resistance arteries were dissected and mounted on an isometric myograph. Concentration-response curves to norepinephrine (from 10<sup>–8</sup> to 10<sup>–5</sup> mol/l) and acetylcholine (from 10<sup>–9</sup> to 10<sup>–5</sup> mol/l) were performed in the presence or absence of insulin 715 pmol/l (low concentration) and 715 nmol/l (high concentration). A significant reduction in the contractile response to norepinephrine was observed in NT after preincubation of the vessels with both low- and high-concentration insulin. No reduction was observed in NIDDM and EH + NIDDM, while a significant decrease was obtained in EH with high-concentration insulin. Moreover, a significant difference in reduction in contractile response at maximal concentration of norepinephrine in the presence of low-concentration insulin was observed in NT compared to EH (p = 0.03), NIDDM (p = 0.02), and EH + NIDDM (p = 0.05), whereas no difference was observed with high-concentration insulin. No differences in the concentration-response curves to acetylcholine before or after precontraction with either low- or high-concentration insulin were observed in any group. In conclusion, insulin at low (physiological) concentrations seems to induce a decreased reactivity to norepinephrine in subcutaneous small resistance arteries of NT, but this effect was lost in EH, NIDDM and EH + NIDDM. This effect does not seem to involve acetylcholine-stimulated nitric oxide release.

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          Most cited references15

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          Banting lecture 1988. Role of insulin resistance in human disease.

          G M Reaven (1988)
          Resistance to insulin-stimulated glucose uptake is present in the majority of patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and in approximately 25% of nonobese individuals with normal oral glucose tolerance. In these conditions, deterioration of glucose tolerance can only be prevented if the beta-cell is able to increase its insulin secretory response and maintain a state of chronic hyperinsulinemia. When this goal cannot be achieved, gross decompensation of glucose homeostasis occurs. The relationship between insulin resistance, plasma insulin level, and glucose intolerance is mediated to a significant degree by changes in ambient plasma free-fatty acid (FFA) concentration. Patients with NIDDM are also resistant to insulin suppression of plasma FFA concentration, but plasma FFA concentrations can be reduced by relatively small increments in insulin concentration. Consequently, elevations of circulating plasma FFA concentration can be prevented if large amounts of insulin can be secreted. If hyperinsulinemia cannot be maintained, plasma FFA concentration will not be suppressed normally, and the resulting increase in plasma FFA concentration will lead to increased hepatic glucose production. Because these events take place in individuals who are quite resistant to insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, it is apparent that even small increases in hepatic glucose production are likely to lead to significant fasting hyperglycemia under these conditions. Although hyperinsulinemia may prevent frank decompensation of glucose homeostasis in insulin-resistant individuals, this compensatory response of the endocrine pancreas is not without its price. Patients with hypertension, treated or untreated, are insulin resistant, hyperglycemic, and hyperinsulinemic. In addition, a direct relationship between plasma insulin concentration and blood pressure has been noted. Hypertension can also be produced in normal rats when they are fed a fructose-enriched diet, an intervention that also leads to the development of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. The development of hypertension in normal rats by an experimental manipulation known to induce insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia provides further support for the view that the relationship between the three variables may be a causal one.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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            Hyperinsulinemia produces both sympathetic neural activation and vasodilation in normal humans.

            Hyperinsulinemia may contribute to hypertension by increasing sympathetic activity and vascular resistance. We sought to determine if insulin increases central sympathetic neural outflow and vascular resistance in humans. We recorded muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA; microneurography, peroneal nerve), forearm blood flow (plethysmography), heart rate, and blood pressure in 14 normotensive males during 1-h infusions of low (38 mU/m2/min) and high (76 mU/m2/min) doses of insulin while holding blood glucose constant. Plasma insulin rose from 8 +/- 1 microU/ml during control, to 72 +/- 8 and 144 +/- 13 microU/ml during the low and high insulin doses, respectively, and fell to 15 +/- 6 microU/ml 1 h after insulin infusion was stopped. MSNA, which averaged 21.5 +/- 1.5 bursts/min in control, increased significantly (P less than 0.001) during both the low and high doses of insulin (+/- 5.4 and +/- 9.3 bursts/min, respectively) and further increased during 1-h recovery (+15.2 bursts/min). Plasma norepinephrine levels (119 +/- 19 pg/ml during control) rose during both low (258 +/- 25; P less than 0.02) and high (285 +/- 95; P less than 0.01) doses of insulin and recovery (316 +/- 23; P less than 0.01). Plasma epinephrine levels did not change during insulin infusion. Despite the increased MSNA and plasma norepinephrine, there were significant (P less than 0.001) increases in forearm blood flow and decreases in forearm vascular resistance during both doses of insulin. Systolic pressure did not change significantly during infusion of insulin and diastolic pressure fell approximately 4-5 mmHg (P less than 0.01). This study suggests that acute increases in plasma insulin within the physiological range elevate sympathetic neural outflow but produce forearm vasodilation and do not elevate arterial pressure in normal humans.
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              Abnormal sympathetic overactivity evoked by insulin in the skeletal muscle of patients with essential hypertension.

              The reason why hyperinsulinemia is associated with essential hypertension is not known. To test the hypothesis of a pathophysiologic link mediated by the sympathetic nervous system, we measured the changes in forearm norepinephrine release, by using the forearm perfusion technique in conjunction with the infusion of tritiated NE, in patients with essential hypertension and in normal subjects receiving insulin intravenously (1 mU/kg per min) while maintaining euglycemia. Hyperinsulinemia (50-60 microU/ml in the deep forearm vein) evoked a significant increase in forearm NE release in both groups of subjects. However, the response of hypertensives was threefold greater compared to that of normotensives (2.28 +/- 45 ng.liter-1.min-1 in hypertensives and 0.80 +/- 0.27 ng.liter-1 in normals; P less than 0.01). Forearm glucose uptake rose to 5.1 +/- .7 mg.liter-1.min-1 in response to insulin in hypertensives and to 7.9 +/- 1.3 mg.liter-1.min-1 in normotensives (P less than 0.05). To clarify whether insulin action was due to a direct effect on muscle NE metabolism, in another set of experiments insulin was infused locally into the brachial artery to expose only the forearm tissues to the same insulin levels as in the systemic studies. During local hyperinsulinemia, forearm NE release remained virtually unchanged both in hypertensive and in normal subjects. Furthermore, forearm glucose disposal was activated to a similar extent in both groups (5.0 +/- 0.6 and 5.2 +/- 1.1 mg.liter-1.min-1 in hypertensives and in normals, respectively). These data demonstrate that: (a) insulin evokes an abnormal muscle sympathetic overactivity in essential hypertension which is mediated by mechanisms involving the central nervous system; and (b) insulin resistance associated with hypertension is demonstrable in the skeletal muscle tissue only with systemic insulin administration which produces muscle sympathetic overactivity. The data fit the hypothesis that the sympathetic system mediates the pathophysiologic link between hyperinsulinemia and essential hypertension.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                October 2008
                02 May 2008
                : 45
                : 6
                : 512-520
                aClinica Medica and bClinica Chirurgica, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
                128604 J Vasc Res 2008;45:512–520
                © 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                : 22 November 2007
                : 01 January 2008
                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 2, References: 43, Pages: 9
                Research Paper

                General medicine,Neurology,Cardiovascular Medicine,Internal medicine,Nephrology
                Acetylcholine,Diabetes mellitus,Hypertension,Norepinephrine,Microcirculation,Small vessels,Insulin,Endothelium


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