Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Physiol Rep. 2014 Aug 19;2(8). pii: e12123. doi: 10.14814/phy2.12123. Print 2014 Aug 1.

Acute insulin resistance stimulates and insulin sensitization attenuates vascular smooth muscle cell migration and proliferation.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Division of Diabetes and the Texas Diabetes Institute, University Health System and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Differential activation/deactivation of insulin signaling, PI-3K and MAP-K pathways by high glucose and palmitate, with/out the insulin sensitizer pioglitazone (PIO), have been previously shown in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). To determine the biological impact of these molecular changes, we examined VSMC migration and proliferation ("M"&"P") patterns in similar conditions. VSMCs from healthy human coronary arteries were incubated in growth medium and "M"&"P" were analyzed after exposure to high glucose (25 mmol/L) ± palmitate (200 μmol/L) and ± PIO (8 μmol/L) for 5 h. "M"&"P" were assessed by: (1) polycarbonate membrane barrier with chemo-attractants and extended cell protrusions quantified by optical density (OD595 nm); (2) % change in radius area (2D Assay) using inverted microscopy images; and (3) cell viability assay expressed as cell absorbance (ABS) in media. "M" in 25 mmol/L glucose media increased by ~25% from baseline and % change in radius area rose from ~20% to ~30%. The addition of PIO was accompanied by a significant decrease in "M" from 0.25 ± 0.02 to 0.19 ± 0.02; a comparable decline from 0.25 ± 0.02 to 0.18 ± 0.02 was also seen with 25 mmol/L of glucose +200 μmol/L of palmitate. When PIO was coincubated with high glucose plus palmitate there was a 50% reduction in % change in radius. A ~10% increase in ABS, reflecting augmented "P" in media with 25 mmol/L glucose versus control was documented. The addition of PIO reduced ABS from 0.208 ± 0.03 to 0.183 ± 0.06. Both high glucose and palmitate showed ABS of ~0.140 ± 0.02, which decreased with PIO to ~0.120 ± 0.02, indicating "P" was reduced.


These results confirm that high glucose and palmitate stimulate VSMCs migration and proliferation in vitro, which is attenuated by coincubation with the insulin sensitizer PIO. Although, we cannot ascertain whether these functional changes are coincident with the activation/deactivation of signal molecules, our findings are consistent with the theory that differential regulation of insulin signaling pathways in VSMCs in insulin-resistant states plays an important role in inflammation, arterial wall thickening, and plaque formation during development of atherosclerosis.


Cell proliferation; hyperinsulinemia; inflammation; insulin signaling; migration; vascular dysfunction; vascular smooth muscle cells

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center