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Peptides. 1990 May-Jun;11(3):467-72.

Insulin binding to brain capillaries is reduced in genetically obese, hyperinsulinemic Zucker rats.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


In order to study the role of plasma insulin in regulating the binding of insulin to the endothelium of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), insulin binding to a purified preparation of brain capillaries was measured in both genetically obese Zucker rats and lean Zucker controls. We found a reduction of 65% in brain capillary insulin binding site number in the obese compared to lean rats with no change in receptor affinity. Furthermore, specific insulin binding to brain capillaries was negatively correlated (p less than 0.05) to the plasma insulin level, suggesting a role for plasma insulin in regulating insulin binding. A similar relationship was observed between insulin receptor number in liver membranes and the plasma insulin level. We conclude that obese, hyperinsulinemic Zucker rats exhibit a reduction in the number of BBB insulin receptors, which parallels the reduction seen in other peripheral tissues. Since insulin receptors have been hypothesized to participate in the transport of insulin across the BBB, the reduction observed in the obese rats may account for the decrease in cerebrospinal fluid insulin uptake previously demonstrated in these animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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