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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2006 Jul-Aug;8(7-8):1131-40.

Adverse effects of reactive oxygen species on vascular reactivity in insulin resistance.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


Insulin resistance (IR) has adverse effects on the reactivity of arteries and arterioles and promotes arterial hypertension and vascular occlusive diseases. Altered reactivity of resistance vessels occurs at both the endothelium and smooth-muscle levels. One major mechanism of vascular dysfunction with IR involves the augmented generation, availability, and/or actions of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Scavengers of ROS are able immediately to restore normal dilator responsiveness in arteries from IR animals. Other factors, such as increased importance of constrictor agents such as endothelin, also restrict normal dilator responses. The basis of ROS-mediated vascular dysfunction in IR may be secondary to underlying inflammatory processes throughout the arterial wall. Although ROS scavengers may be beneficial in the short term, prolonged treatments involving behavioral approaches, such as changes in diet, weight loss, and regular exercise, and pharmacological approaches, involving the use of insulin-sensitizing agents, inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system, or administration of statins, appear to offer benefits against the detrimental vascular effects of IR. Nonetheless, the most effective approach appears to involve prevention of IR via adoption of a healthy lifestyle by young people.

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