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Diabetes. 1993 Mar;42(3):457-62.

Syndromes of insulin resistance in the rat. Inducement by diet and amelioration with benfluorex.

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  • 1Garvan Institute of Medical Research, St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia.


Insulin resistance, mainly in skeletal muscle, is linked to a cluster of prevalent diseases including NIDDM, dyslipidemias, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. To determine if an oversupply of lipid is associated with the development of skeletal muscle insulin resistance, we examined the effect of the hypolipidemic agent benfluorex in dietary models of insulin resistance. Adult, male Wistar rats were divided into six groups and maintained for 4 wk on diets high in complex carbohydrate, fructose or fat, with or without 50 of benfluorex, given orally. Insulin action was assessed using a hyperinsulinemic (approximately 100 mU/L) euglycemic clamp, with 2-deoxyglucose tracer for individual tissue evaluation, in chronically cannulated conscious animals. Compared with starch feeding, fructose and fat feeding significantly impaired insulin action at the whole-body level (-46% and -41%, respectively, both P < 0.001), as well as in individual skeletal muscles. Fructose feeding increased circulating TGs (by 80%, P < 0.01) but not skeletal muscle TGs; whereas, fat feeding increased skeletal muscle TGs (by 59%, P < 0.01) but not circulating TGs. With benfluorex, however, diet had no effect on circulating and storage TGs; and development of skeletal muscle insulin resistance in the two diet groups was prevented. Feeding fructose but not fat significantly increased mean arterial BP (by 13%, P < 0.05), an effect prevented by benfluorex. These effects support the hypothesis that the development of muscle insulin resistance in these models is linked to local or systemic oversupply of lipid. These diet models--and the parallel effect of benfluorex on insulin resistance, lipids, and hypertension--may prove useful in the search for the mechanisms that underlie the human disorders associated with insulin resistance.

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