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Yale J Biol Med. 1975 Nov;48(5):353-60.

Positive inotropic action of insulin on piglet heart.


This study was designed to investigate changes in cardiac performance during hypoglycemia produced by the administration of insulin in the newborn piglet. With heart rate, aortic pressure, and aortic flow held constant, the treated group demonstrated a pronounced positive inotropic response manifested by an increase of dP/dt max to 138% of control values. Central nervous system function and beta adrenergic activity were excluded from the preparation by ligation of the brachiocephalic vessels and administration of practolol. For reasons discussed, it is unlikely that the findings can be ascribed to glucagon contamination. Therefore, the increase in contractility presumably resulted from a direct effect of insulin upon the myocardium. Clinical and laboratory data suggest that the resistance of the neonate to hypoxia is modified by glycogen stores. Insulin is known to increase glycogen synthesis, and this effect might be expected to augment myocardial resistance to hypoxia. Under the conditions of these experiments, however, pretreatment with insulin had no demonstrable influence on the rate of deterioration of cardiac function during hypoxia. The mechanism of cardiac stimulation by insulin is unknown but may involve calcium fluxes.

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