Microvascular recruitment is an early insulin effect that regulates skeletal muscle glucose uptake in vivo

Michelle A. Vincent, Lucy H. Clerk, Jonathan R. Lindner, Alexander L. Klibanov, Michael G. Clark, Stephen Rattigan, Eugene J. Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

334 Scopus citations


Insulin increases glucose disposal into muscle. In addition, in vivo insulin elicits distinct nitric oxide synthase-dependent vascular responses to increase total skeletal muscle blood flow and to recruit muscle capillaries (by relaxing resistance and terminal arterioles, respectively). In the current study, we compared the temporal sequence of vascular and metabolic responses to a 30-min physiological infusion of insulin (3 mU · min-1 · kg-1, euglycemic clamp) or saline in rat skeletal muscle in vivo. We used contrast-enhanced ultrasound to continuously quantify microvascular volume. Insulin recruited microvasculature within 5-10 min (P < 0.05), and this preceded both activation of insulin-signaling pathways and increases in glucose disposal in muscle, as well as changes in total leg blood flow. Moreover, L-NAME (Nω-nitro-L-arginine-methyl ester), a specific inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, blocked this early microvascular recruitment (P < 0.05) and at least partially inhibited early increases in muscle glucose uptake (P < 0.05). We conclude that insulin rapidly recruits skeletal muscle capillaries in vivo by a nitric oxide-dependent action, and the increase in capillary recruitment may contribute to the subsequent glucose uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1418-1423
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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