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Research Article

Relation of pressor responsiveness to angiotensin II and insulin resistance in hypertension.

C L Gaboury, D C Simonson, E W Seely, N K Hollenberg and G H Williams

Endocrine-Hypertension Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.

Published December 1994

To test the hypothesis that the hypertension associated with insulin resistance is secondary to an altered responsiveness of the vasculature to pressor agents, we evaluated the relationship between insulin resistance and pressor responses to angiotensin II (AII) in 21 hypertensive (HT) and 8 normotensive (NT) subjects on both a high (200 meq) and a low (10 meq) sodium diet. When sodium balance was achieved, each supine fasting subject underwent an AII infusion at a rate of 3 ng/kg per min for 60 min, with blood pressure monitored every 2 min. On the next day under similar conditions, a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp was performed, with plasma glucose clamped at 90 mg/dl for 120 min. There was no significant relationship between the glucose disposal rate (M) or the insulin sensitivity index (M divided by the mean insulin level [M/I]) and blood pressure response to AII in the NTs, but a highly significant (P < 0.019) negative correlation (r = -0.55) in the HTs. Furthermore, in eight lean HTs whose body mass index was identical to that observed in the NTs, the relationship was even more striking (P < 0.008; r = -0.85). The results on high and low salt diets were similar; however, the M and M/I were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in the NTs but not HTs with sodium restriction. In conclusion, HTs but not NTs display a striking correlation between pressor response to AII and insulin resistance. This relationship is independent of the level of sodium intake. Furthermore, sodium intake modifies insulin sensitivity in NTs but not HTs. These results strongly suggest that a primary change in pressor response to vasoactive agents in insulin-resistant subjects can contribute to their elevated blood pressure.

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