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J R Soc Med. 2002; 95(Suppl 42): 54–61.
PMCID: PMC1308946

Insulin resistance and vessel endothelial function.

Abstract

IRS is a complex disease consisting of a clustering of metabolic disorders, of which hyperglycaemia, hyper-insulinaemia and dyslipidaemia are the most important. Endothelial dysfunction plays an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. The effects of hyperinsulinaemia seem to depend on lipidaemia and glycaemia. Hyperglycaemia and hyperlipidaemia have detrimental effects on endothelial function in the fasting as well as the postprandial states. In both situations, the generation of ROS and vasoactive molecules plays a major role in interfering with the atheroprotective endothelium-dependent NO system. Treatment of IRS in regard to endothelial function should be focused initially on lifestyle improvement, such as stopping smoking and eating a balanced diet containing antioxidant vitamins, folic-acid, L-arginine and long-chain omega-3 unsaturated FA. Strict glucose control has shown to improve endothelial function and decrease microvascular complications. However, macrovascular complications, in line with endothelial functional improvement, have so far been reduced only when treatment was focused on other characteristics of the IRS syndrome, in particular dyslipidaemia. Other relevant treatments include ACE inhibitors and thiazolidinediones, and probably tetrahydrobiopterin and folic acid supplementation. Future studies should address the effects of therapeutic neovascularization on endothelial dysfunction.

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Selected References

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