Insulin exerts effects on the vasculature that (a) may play a role in the regulation of blood pressure; and (b) by boosting its own delivery to target tissues, also have been proposed to play an integral part in its main action, the promotion of glucose disposal. To study the role of nitric oxide (NO) in the mediation of insulin's effects on the peripheral vasculature, NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), a specific inhibitor of the synthesis of endothelium-derived NO, was infused into the brachial arteries of healthy volunteers both before, and at the end of a 2-h hyperinsulinemic (6 pmol/kg per min) euglycemic clamp. L-NMMA (but not norepinephrine, an NO-independent vasoconstrictor) caused larger reductions in forearm blood flow during hyperinsulinemia than at baseline. Moreover, L-NMMA prevented insulin-induced vasodilation throughout the clamp. Prevention of vasodilation by L-NMMA led to significant increases in arterial pressure during insulin/glucose infusion but did not alter glucose uptake. These findings indicate that insulin's vasodilatory effects are mediated by stimulation of NO release, and that they play a role in the regulation of arterial pressure during physiologic hyperinsulinemia. Abnormalities in insulin-induced NO release could contribute to altered vascular function and hypertension in insulin-resistant states.
U Scherrer, D Randin, P Vollenweider, L Vollenweider, P Nicod
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.