Central Nervous System Nitric Oxide Synthase Activity Regulates Insulin Secretion and Insulin Action

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Systemic inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) with NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) causes acute insulin resistance (IR), but the mechanism is unknown. We tested whether L-NMMA-induced IR occurs via NOS blockade in the central nervous system (CNS). Six groups of Sprague-Dawley rats were studied after chronic implantation of an intracerebroventricular (ICV) catheter into the lateral ventricle and catheters into the carotid artery and jugular vein. Animals were studied after overnight food deprivation, awake, unrestrained, and unstressed; all ICV infusion of L-NMMA or D-NMMA (control) were performed with artificial cerebrospinal fluid. ICV administration of L-NMMA resulted in a 30% rise in the basal glucose level after 2 h, while ICV D-NMMA had no effect on glucose levels. Insulin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine levels were unchanged from baseline in both groups. Tracer (3) H-3-glucose)-determined glucose disposal rates during 2 h euglycemic hyperinsulinemic (300 [micro sign]U/ml) clamps performed after ICV administration of L-NMMA were reduced by 22% compared with D-NMMA. Insulin secretory responses to a hyperglycemic clamp and to a superimposed arginine bolus were reduced by 28% in L-NMMA-infused rats compared with D-NMMA. In conclusion, ICV administration of L-NMMA causes hyperglycemia via the induction of defects in insulin secretion and insulin action, thus recapitulating abnormalities observed in type 2 diabetes. The data suggest the novel concept that central NOS-dependent pathways may control peripheral insulin action and secretion. This control is not likely to be mediated via adrenergic mechanisms and could occur via nonadrenergic, noncholinergic nitrergic neural and/or endocrine pathways. These data support previously published data suggesting that CNS mechanisms may be involved in the pathogenesis of some forms of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes independent of adiposity. (J. Clin. Invest. 1998. 102:1403-1412.)

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