Relationship between insulin sensitivity, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin-mediated sympathetic activation in normotensive and hypertensive subjects

Carlos Arauz-Pacheco, Dan Lender, Peter G. Snell, Beverley A Huet, Luis C. Ramirez, Laura Breen, Pablo Mora, Philip Raskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


The adrenergic response to high physiological hyperinsulinemia was studied in 39 hypertensive subjects (28 men and 11 women) and 25 normal volunteers (15 men and 10 women), using the euglycemic clamp technique. Control studies using 0.45% saline infusions (sham studies) were also performed. Before and during the clamp procedure, plasma norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (E) were measured using a high performance liquid chromatographic method (HPLC). The association between the increment in NE and E levels and insulin sensitivity, steady state insulin level during the clamps, waist to hip ratio (WHR), baseline NE levels and gender was studied. NE levels increased during the hyperinsulinemic period (mean increase 46 ± 6 pmol P < .001 v baseline and P < .01 v sham studies). E levels did not differ between the insulin clamps and the sham studies. Insulin sensitivity was not significantly associated with the increment in NE. Hypertensive subjects had a higher NE increase than the normotensive individuals (55 ± 7 v 30 ± 10 pmol, P = .03), but also had higher insulin levels during the clamps (839 ± 43 v 522 ± 38 pmol, P < .001). Insulin levels accounted for most of the differences in NE increase between the normotensive and hypertensive groups. Gender, adiposity and WHR were also associated with NE increment. We conclude that the insulin mediated sympathetic activation is not affected in the presence of decreased insulin sensitivity for glucose utilization. The greater degree of sympathetic activation observed in hypertensive subjects is a function of the level of insulinemia obtained during the clamps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1178
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number12 I
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1996



  • blood
  • euglycemic clamps
  • hypertension
  • insulin resistance
  • norepinephrine
  • sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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