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Diabetologia. 2015 May;58(5):1081-90. doi: 10.1007/s00125-015-3496-9. Epub 2015 Jan 27.

Vasopressin and hydration play a major role in the development of glucose intolerance and hepatic steatosis in obese rats.

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Inserm U1138, Centre de Recherche des Cordeliers, 15 rue de l'Ecole de Medecine, 75006, Paris, France.



High plasma copeptin, a marker of vasopressin (VP) secretion, has been shown to be associated with the metabolic syndrome and development of type 2 diabetes in humans. The present study was designed to determine the long-term influence of plasma VP concentration in a rodent model prone to metabolic dysfunction.


Obese Zucker rats and their lean counterparts were submitted for 4 weeks to one of three protocols inducing different levels of VP. Circulating VP was either reduced by increasing the daily water intake (low-VP), or increased by a chronic i.p. infusion of VP (high-VP). The control rats had normal VP levels that depended on their own regulation of water intake and VP secretion.


Compared with controls with normal VP, lean rats with high-VP had a higher fasting glycaemia after 4 weeks. In obese rats, high-VP promoted hyperinsulinaemia, glucose intolerance, assessed by glucose and insulin tolerance tests, and an impaired response to a pyruvate challenge. Conversely, treatment with a selective arginine vasopressin receptor 1A (V1aR) antagonist reduced glucose intolerance. Low-VP obese rats had unchanged glucose tolerance but exhibited a drastic decrease in liver steatosis compared with control obese rats, associated with low hepatic triacylglycerol and cholesterol content, and reduced expression of hepatic lipogenic genes. These effects were independent of changes in body adiposity, and plasma sodium and osmolality did not differ among groups.


These findings show a causal relationship between the VP-hydration axis and the metabolic risk. Therapeutic perspectives include diet recommendations regarding hydration, but also potential pharmacological interventions targeting the VP V1aR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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