The normal response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia bears many characteristics of activation of the sympathetic nervous system. In this study, the impulse pattern of muscle nerve sympathetic activity (MSA) involved in cardiovascular homeostasis was identified by microneurography in the peroneal nerve of seven healthy and two adrenalectomized subjects. After recordings at rest and an intravenous injection of 0.15 IU insulin/kg body wt (0.10 IU insulin/kg body wt in adrenalectomized subjects), MSA was followed for 90 min. Nadir of hypoglycemia (2.0 ± 0.1 mM) was reached at 30 min. All subjects, including the two adrenalectomized subjects, exhibited an increase of MSA, which peaked at the glucose nadir. The time course of MSA increase was a mirror image of the blood glucose curve. This directly measured increase of MSA may be part of the hemodynamic adjustment to the fall in plasma volume known to occur in hypoglycemia. Another possible cause is direct stimulation of central sympathetic motoneurons.

This content is only available via PDF.