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Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2004 Jan-Feb;20(1):3-12.

The vasodilatory actions of insulin on resistance and terminal arterioles and their impact on muscle glucose uptake.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.


Whether a discrete vascular action of insulin in skeletal muscle integrally participates in insulin-mediated glucose disposal has been extensively examined but remains a contentious issue. Here, we review some of the data both supporting and questioning the role of insulin-mediated increases in limb blood flow in glucose metabolism. We advance the hypothesis that controversy has arisen, at least in part, from a failure to recognize that insulin exerts at least three separate actions on the peripheral vasculature, each with its own characteristic dose and time responsiveness. We summarize how, viewed in this manner, certain points of contention can be resolved. We also advance the hypothesis that an action on the precapillary arteriole may play the dominant role in mediating perfusion-dependent effects of insulin on glucose metabolism in muscle.

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