Hypothalamic and Striatal Insulin Action Suppresses Endogenous Glucose Production and May Stimulate Glucose Uptake During Hyperinsulinemia in Lean but Not in Overweight Men

Intranasal spray application facilitates insulin delivery to the human brain. Although brain insulin modulates peripheral metabolism, the mechanisms involved remain elusive. Twenty-one men underwent two hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps with d-[6,6-2H2]glucose infusion to measure endogenous glucose production and glucose disappearance. On two separate days, participants received intranasal insulin or placebo. Insulin spillover into circulation after intranasal insulin application was mimicked by an intravenous insulin bolus on placebo day. On a different day, brain insulin sensitivity was assessed by functional MRI. Glucose infusion rates (GIRs) had to be increased more after nasal insulin than after placebo to maintain euglycemia in lean but not in overweight people. The increase in GIRs was associated with regional brain insulin action in hypothalamus and striatum. Suppression of endogenous glucose production by circulating insulin was more pronounced after administration of nasal insulin than after placebo. Furthermore, glucose uptake into tissue tended to be higher after nasal insulin application. No such effects were detected in overweight participants. By increasing insulin-mediated suppression of endogenous glucose production and stimulating peripheral glucose uptake, brain insulin may improve glucose metabolism during systemic hyperinsulinemia. Obese people appear to lack these mechanisms. Therefore, brain insulin resistance in obesity may have unfavorable consequences for whole-body glucose homeostasis.

Diabetes Journal current issue





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