Whole-blood viscosity and the insulin-resistance syndrome

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BackgroundIn a previous study we found that elevated blood viscosity was linked to the insulin resistance syndrome, and we proposed that high blood viscosity may increase insulin resistance. That study was based on calculated viscosity.ObjectiveTo determine whether directly measured whole-blood viscosity was related to the insulin-resistance syndrome in the same way as calculated viscosity had been found to be.MethodsHealthy young men were examined with the hyperinsulinemic isoglycemic glucose clamp technique, and we related insulin sensitivity (glucose disposal rate) to other metabolic parameters and to blood viscosity. We established a technique for direct measurement of whole-blood viscosity.ResultsThere were statistically significant negative correlations between glucose disposal rate and whole-blood viscosity at low and high shear rates (r = −0.41, P = 0.007 for both, n = 42). Whole-blood viscosity was correlated positively (n = 15) to serum triglyceride (r = 0.54, P = 0.04) and total cholesterol (r = 0.52, P = 0.05), and negatively with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (r = −0.53, P = 0.04) concentrations. Insulin sensitivity index was correlated positively to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (r = 0.54, P = 0.04) and negatively to serum triglyceride (r = −0.69, P = 0.005) and to total cholesterol (r = −0.81, P = 0.0003) concentrations.ConclusionsThe present results demonstrate for the first time that there is a negative relationship between directly measured whole-blood viscosity and insulin sensitivity as a part of the insulin-resistance syndrome. Whole-blood viscosity contributes to the total peripheral resistance, and these results support the hypothesis that insulin resistance has a hemodynamic basis.

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