Relationship Between Insulin Sensitivity and Maximal Forearm Blood Flow in Young Men

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Abstract

Insulin resistance is a part of the metabolic cardiovascular syndrome. We aimed to test the hemodynamic hypothesis of insulin resistance, which suggests that a decreased skeletal muscle blood supply with subsequent reduced nutritional flow causes insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. We assessed determinants of peripheral blood flow such as maximal forearm blood flow (MFBF), minimal forearm vascular resistance (MFVR), and whole blood viscosity (WBV) in 27 young men with borderline elevation of blood pressure. Insulin sensitivity measured as glucose disposal rate (GDR) correlated with MFBF (r=0.55, P=0.003), MFVR (r=-0.58, P=0.002), and WBV (r=-0.39, P=0.046 at shear rate 201 s-1). There was no correlation between GDR and myocardial thickness or left ventricular mass. In a stepwise multiple regression analysis, MFVR and WBV explained 54% of the variation in GDR. The relative increase in mean arterial blood pressure during a mental stress test, as a marker of reactivity or an alert reaction, was correlated with MFVR (r=0.56, P=0.002) and inversely with GDR (r=-0.45, P=0.018) and MFBF (r=-0.49, P=0.01) but not with cardiac dimensions. In a stepwise multiple regression analysis, 48% of the increase in blood pressure during a mental stress test was explained by MFVR and WBV. Fasting insulin correlated with MFVR (r=0.41, P=0.036) and GDR (r=-0.62, P=0.001). These data show a positive association between the appearance of peripheral structural vascular changes as quantified through a hemodynamic technique and insulin resistance in young men with borderline elevation of blood pressure. The cause-effect relationship of this finding needs further evaluations. (Hypertension. 1998;32:838-843.)

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