To assess whether a therapeutic, subcutaneous injection of insulin exerts hemodynamic effects in subjects with IDDM, 0.2 U/kg regular insulin was injected subcutaneously in 17 IDDM subjects: 6 without autonomic neuropathy, 7 with autonomic neuropathy and othostatic hypotension, and 4 with autonomic neuropathy but without orthostatic hypotension. Plasma glucose was maintained at ∼8.5 mM throughout the studies. Mean blood pressure, plasma norepinephrine concentration, forearm vascular resistances, and calf venous volume were measured before and 120 min after subcutaneous insulin, in the supine position and 5 min after standing. Supine plasma volume ([125I]albumin and [131I]albumin) was measured before and after subcutaneous injection of insulin. In all three groups, subcutaneous insulin activated the sympathetic nervous system (∼30% increase in norepinephrine concentration). In subjects with IDDM but without autonomic neuropathy, standing forearm vascular resistance increased ∼70% less after subcutaneous insulin, but supine or standing mean blood pressure did not decrease. In contrast, in subjects with IDDM with autonomic neuropathy and orthostatic hypotension, subcutaneous insulin decreased supine mean blood pressure (from 99 ± 3 to 94 ± 5 mmHg) and exaggerated the standing decrement in mean blood pressure (24 ± 3 vs. 19 ± 2 mmHg) (P < 0.05). This was associated with a decrease in forearm vascular resistance. Similarly, in subjects with IDDM with autonomic neuropathy without orthostatic hypotension, subcutaneously injected insulin decreased supine mean blood pressure (from 95 ± 2 to 89 ± 2 mmHg) and standing mean blood pressure by 8 ± 1 mmHg (P < 0.05). Calf venous volume was not affected by subcutaneous insulin in any of the three groups. Plasma volume did not change after subcutaneous insulin in subjects with IDDM without autonomic neuropathy, whereas it decreased in those with autonomic neuropathy and orthostatic hypotension from 1.692 ± 0.069 to 1.610 ± 0.064 L/m2, without orthostatic hypotension from 1.631 ± 0.027 to 1.593 ± 0.024 L/m2 P < 0.05). No hemodynamic effects were observed when subjects with IDDM were restudied in a control experiment where placebo (distilled water), not insulin, was injected subcutaneously. In conclusion, therapeutic doses of subcutaneous insulin activate the sympathetic nervous system; decrease blood pressure in subjects with IDDM with autonomic neuropathy, but not in those without, primarily by decreasing arterial vascular resistances and plasma volume; and have no effects of capacitance vessels. Thus, in subjects with IDDM without autonomic neuropathy, greater activation of sympathetic nervous system after subcutaneous injection of insulin prevents orthostatic hypotension. In contrast, in subjects with IDDM with autonomic neuropathy, the sympathetic nervous system failure unmasks the inhibition of sympathetic vasoconstriction by insulin, and blood pressure decreases, in part possibly because of insulin-induced decrease in plasma volume.
Mechanisms of Arterial Hypotension After Therapeutic Dose of Subcutaneous Insulin in Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy
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Francesca Porcellati, Carmine Fanelli, Paolo Bottini, Lucilla Epifano, Anna Maria Rambotti, Carlo Lalli, Simone Pampanelli, Luciano Scionti, Fausto Santeusanio, Paolo Brunetti, Jannik Hilsted, Geremia B Bolli; Mechanisms of Arterial Hypotension After Therapeutic Dose of Subcutaneous Insulin in Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy. Diabetes 1 July 1993; 42 (7): 1055–1064. https://doi.org/10.2337/diab.42.7.1055
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