Using the euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic glucose clamp and the human forearm technique, we have demonstrated that the improved glucose disposal rate observed after the administration of an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor such as captopril may be primarily due to increased muscle glucose uptake (MGU). These results are not surprising because ACE, which is identical to the bradykinin (BK)-degrading kininase II, is abundantly present in muscle tissue, and its inhibition has been observed to elicit the observed metabolic actions via elevated tissue concentrations of BK and through a BK B2 receptor site in muscle and/or endothelial tissue. These findings are supported by several previous studies. Exogenous BK applied into the brachial artery of the human forearm not only augmented muscle blood flow (MBF) but also enhanced the rate of MGU. In another investigation, during rhythmic voluntary contraction, both MBF and MGU increased in response to the higher energy expenditure, and the release of BK rose in the blood vessel, draining the working muscle tissue. Inhibition of the activity of the BK-generating protease in muscle tissue (kallikrein) with aprotinin significantly diminished these functional responses during contraction. Applying the same kallikrein inhibitor during the infusion of insulin into the brachial artery significantly reduced the effect of insulin on glucose uptake into forearm muscle. This is of interest, because in recent studies insulin has been suggested to elicit its actions on MBF and MGU via the accelerated release of endothelium-derived nitric oxide, the generation of which is also stimulated by BK in a concentration-dependent manner. This new evidence obtained from in vitro and in vivo studies sheds new light on the discussion of whether BK may play a role in energy metabolism of skeletal muscle tissue.

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