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April 30, 2006

Insulin

Question from India:

What are the adverse effects of insulin, aside from hypoglycemia, for someone with type 2? I read on Wikipedia that "Arterial muscle tone - forces arterial wall muscle to relax, increasing blood flow, especially in micro arteries; lack of insulin reduces flow by allowing these muscles to contract." If this is one action of insulin, can more insulin force arterial wall muscles to relax in excess or for a prolonged time? Can more insulin be pro-inflammatory?

Answer:

It is an ongoing question as to whether hyperinsulinemia seen with insulin resistance in the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes is a direct effector in the promotion of cardiovascular disease. Insulin has many effects on a variety of tissues, in addition to its effects on glucose transport. These also include effects on mitogenesis. However, the jury is not out with regard to the favorable/unfavorable effects of exposure to patients with type 2 diabetes. For instance, insulin has anti-oxidative effects that may protect against cardiovascular disease. We are not sure where the net effect is.

JTL