The insulin-induced platelet anti-aggregating effect is attributed to a nitric oxide (NO)-mediated increase of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). The aim of this work, carried out in human platelets, is to show whether insulin increases NO synthesis in platelets and whether it enhances not only cGMP but also cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in these cells. We observed that 1) insulin dose-dependently increases NO production, evaluated as citrulline synthesis from Larginine (n = 4, P = 0.015); 2) insulin dose-dependently increases not only cGMP but also cAMP: for instance, after 8 min of insulin incubation at 1,920 pmol/l, cAMP increased from 39.8 ± 1.4 to 121.3 ± 12.6 pmol/l/109platelets (in = 16, P = 0.0001);3) when insulin is incubated for 120 min, the increase of cGMP and cAMP shows a plateau between 2 and 20 min, and while the effect on cGMP is significant until 120 min, the effect on cAMP is no more significant at 60 and 120 min; 4) insulin increases the effects on cAMP of the adenylate cyclase agonists Iloprost and forskolin (n = 5, P = 0.0001) and enhances their platelet anti-aggregating effects (n = 6 and 8, respectively; P = 0.0001); and 5) the inhibition of NO synthase by NG-monomethyl-L-arginine blunts both the insulin effects on basal cGMP and cAMP (n = 4) and those on the Iloprost- and forskolin-induced cAMP increase (n = 5). Thus, insulin increases NO synthesis in human platelets, and, through NO, enhances both cGMP and cAMP. The platelet antiaggregating effect exerted by insulin is, therefore, a NO-mediated phenomenon involving both cGMP and cAMP.

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