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International Journal of Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 1 (2000), Issue 1, Pages 59-67

The Effect of the Removal of the Area Postrema on Insulin and IGF-1-Induced Cardiovascular and Sympathetic Nervous Responses

Department of Physiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 540 E. Canfield, Detroit, MI 48201-1928, USA

Received 19 May 1999; Revised 8 September 1999; Accepted 28 September 1999

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Previous studies have demonstrated that insulin and IGF-1 both increase lumbar sympathetic nerve activity (LSNA) and decrease mean arterial pressure (MAP). We hypothesized that the peripheral responses to insulin and IGF-1 are mediated, at least in part, via the central nervous system. In this study we determined the effects of the peripheral administration of both insulin and IGF-1 on cardiovascular dynamics and LSNA following removal of the area postrema (APX), a major site of blood-brain communication. Insulin infusion in normal rats decreased MAP but increased HR and LSNA. When insulin was infused in APX rats it also decreased the MAP but the MAP recovered rapidly and plateaued at a level equivalent to normals after 40 min. Insulin significantly increased the HR and LSNA in the APX rats compared to normals. However, when hypoglycemia was prevented by glucose infusion, the HR and LSNA responses to insulin in the APX rats were similar to normals. IGF-1 also decreased MAP and to a greater extent in the APX rats compared to normals but the increased LSNA in APX rats was equivalent to normals. The APX rats when compared to normals had a greater sensitivity to insulin-induced hypoglycemia while IGF-1 decreased the plasma glucose to a lesser degree in APX rats. We conclude that insulin and IGF-1 entry into the CNS at least via the area postrema does not contribute significantly to the hypotensive response and that the greater depressor response to IGF-1 is likely due to enhanced vascular sensitivity in APX rats. The increased HR and LSNA following insulin were likely mediated by an increased reflexive response to hypoglycemia.