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Am J Physiol. 1994 Jan;266(1 Pt 1):E17-25.

Importance of transcapillary insulin transport to dynamics of insulin action after intravenous glucose.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90033.

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Insulin action in vivo is determined by both transendothelial insulin transport (TET) across the capillary and subsequent insulin binding and postreceptor events. To examine TET under non-steady-state conditions, we performed intravenous glucose tolerance tests (IVGTT; 0.3 g/kg; n = 7) on conscious dogs. At basal, insulin in lymph was only 53 +/- 7% of plasma insulin (P < 0.001), whereas lymph glucose exceeded plasma levels (109 +/- 4 vs. 104 +/- 4 mg/dl, respectively; P < 0.02). On injection, dynamics of glucose in plasma and lymph were similar, suggesting rapid equilibration of glucose between compartments. In contrast, insulin appearance in lymph was delayed relative to plasma (5.1 +/- 1.3 vs. 2 +/- 0 min), peaked later (21 +/- 2 vs. 8 +/- 2 min), attained peak value of only 52 +/- 6% of plasma insulin (range, 35-76%), and remained lower than plasma insulin throughout the IVGTT (P < 0.05 or better). Minimal model-derived insulin sensitivity (SI) averaged 3.55 +/- 0.75 x 10(-4) min-1/(microU/ml). There was a strong linear relationship between lymph insulin and its effect on glucose disappearance [X(t), r = 0.95 +/- 0.01]. Determination of the relative contributions of TET and post-TET insulin-sensitive processes to overall SI revealed that cellular sensitivity to interstitial insulin dominated (r2 = 0.55), but was not the exclusive determinant of, overall SI, as insulin transport was also important (r2 = 0.21). TET is a previously unrecognized contributor to SI in vivo.

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