Obesity is associated with microvascular insulin resistance, which is characterized by impaired insulin-mediated microvascular recruitment. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) recruits skeletal and cardiac muscle microvasculature, and this action is preserved in insulin-resistant rodents. We aimed to examine whether GLP-1 recruits microvasculature and improves the action of insulin in obese humans.
Fifteen obese adults received intravenous infusion of either saline or GLP-1 (1.2 pmol/kg/min) for 150 min with or without a euglycemic insulin clamp (1 mU/kg/min) superimposed over the last 120 min. Skeletal and cardiac muscle microvascular blood volume (MBV), flow velocity and blood flow, brachial artery diameter and blood flow, and pulse wave velocity (PWV) were determined.
Insulin failed to change MBV or flow in either skeletal or cardiac muscle, confirming the presence of microvascular insulin resistance. GLP-1 infusion alone increased MBV by ~30% and ~40% in skeletal and cardiac muscle, respectively, with no change in flow velocity, leading to a significant increase in microvascular blood flow in both skeletal and cardiac muscle. Superimposition of insulin to GLP-1 infusion did not further increase MBV or flow in either skeletal or cardiac muscle but raised the steady-state glucose infusion rate by ~20%. Insulin, GLP-1, and GLP-1 + insulin infusion did not alter brachial artery diameter and blood flow or PWV. The vasodilatory actions of GLP-1 are preserved in both skeletal and cardiac muscle microvasculature, which may contribute to improving metabolic insulin responses and cardiovascular outcomes.
In obese humans with microvascular insulin resistance, GLP-1’s vasodilatory actions are preserved in both skeletal and cardiac muscle microvasculature, which may contribute to improving metabolic insulin responses and cardiovascular outcomes.