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Published Online: 8 November 2004

Insulin Is an Anti-inflammatory and Anti-atherosclerotic Hormone

Publication: Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Volume 2, Issue Number 2

Abstract

Fasting hyperinsulinemia is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic complications of heart attack and stroke. This has resulted in the concept that insulin may promote atherosclerosis in spite of the absence of any evidence that insulin is atherogenic either in the human or in experimental models. Recent evidence shows that insulin exerts vasodilatory, anti-platelet and anti-inflammatory effects at the cellular level in vitro and in the human in vivo. Since atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory process of the arterial wall, insulin may be potentially anti-atherosclerotic in the long term. More recent data on experimental atherosclerosis in the mouse shows that (1) insulin administration reduces the number and the size of atherosclerotic lesions in apo E null mice and (2) in IRS-2 null mice, the interruption in insulin signal transduction results in enhanced atherogenicity. Finally, the use of a low dose of insulin infusion in patients with acute myocardial infarction has been shown to markedly improve clinical outcomes, both in diabetic and nondiabetic patients. Our own most recent data show that a low dose infusion of insulin in patients with acute myocardial infarction induces a reduction in inflammation (C-reactive protein and serum amyloid A) and oxidative stress, and promotes fibrinolysis. We conclude that insulin is anti-inflammatory and potentially antiatherogenic and may be of use in the treatment of cardiovascular inflammatory conditions.

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Published In

cover image Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Volume 2Issue Number 2June 2004
Pages: 137 - 142
PubMed: 18370645

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Published online: 8 November 2004
Published in print: June 2004

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Paresh Dandona, MBBS, D.Phil., FRCP, FACP, FACC
Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, State University of New York and Kaleida Health, Buffalo, New York.
Ahmad Aljada, Ph.D.
Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, State University of New York and Kaleida Health, Buffalo, New York.
Amy O'donnell, M.D.
Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, State University of New York and Kaleida Health, Buffalo, New York.
Sandeep Dhindsa, M.D.
Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, State University of New York and Kaleida Health, Buffalo, New York.
Rajesh Garg, M.D.
Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, State University of New York and Kaleida Health, Buffalo, New York.

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