Objectives: Vascular dysfunction is common in obesity. Insulin can directly modulate arterial function, but its role is unclear in obesity. We examined the influence of adiposity on direct effects of insulin on human artery responses.
Methods: 22 healthy women were stratified by median BMI into lower (LA) (n=11) and higher adiposity (HA) (n=11). Small arteries from gluteal biopsies were tested for contractile responses to Noradrenaline (NA), the endothelium-dependent dilator Carbachol and the endothelium-independent dilator sodium nitroprusside were examined before and after incubation with 100 mU/ml human insulin.
Results: Contractile responses were similar in the two groups. Insulin reduced NA-induced contraction in HA [3.5 (2.4-4.6) vs. 2.4 (1.4-3.4) mN/mm: p=0.004] but not those from LA [4.1 (2.8-5.3) vs. 3.7 (2.5-5.0) mN/mm: p=0.33]. Endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD) was significantly reduced in arteries from women in the HA (34.7 (18.8-50.6%)) compared to those from women in the LA (62.3 (46.2- 78.4); p=0.013). Insulin improved EDD (change in maximal dilation before/after insulin (%)) in arteries from the HA (37.7 (18.0 to 57.3) but not the LA (6.3 (-6.5 to 19.1), p=0.007.
Conclusion: Reduced EDD evident in arteries from HA subjects improve by incubating in insulin. Hyperinsulinaemia may be necessary in maintaining endothelial function in obesity.
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