Angiotensin II (ANGII) increases insulin sensitivity in diabetic and non-diabetic subjects, even at subpressor doses, and because there is 'crosstalk' between ANGII and insulin-signaling pathways the underlying mechanism may not be due solely to changes in regional blood flow. A series of experimental studies was undertaken to evaluate the effects of ANGII on glucose and lipid metabolism in vivo and in vitro. Groups of fructose-fed, insulin-resistant Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were pre-treated with 0.3 mg/kg per day of the AT(1)-receptor antagonist L-158 809 (n=16), or vehicle (n=16), by oral gavage. This was prior to an oral glucose tolerance test (day 5) and measurement of the effects of ANGII infusion (20 ng/kg per min i.v. for 3 h) on whole-body insulin sensitivity using the insulin suppression test (day 7). The effect of ANGII infusion on total triglyceride secretion rate (TGSR) was evaluated in normal SD rats pretreated for 7 days with L-158 809 (n=12) or vehicle (n=12). AT(1)- and AT(2)- receptor mRNA expression and [(3)H]2-deoxyglucose uptake were assessed in cultured L6 myoblasts. Short-term treatment with L-158 809 had no effect on glucose tolerance or fasting triglyceride levels in fructose-fed rats. ANGII infusion had no effect on insulin sensitivity in fructose-fed rats pretreated with vehicle (steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) values 8.1+/-1.6 vs 8. 4+/-0.4 mmol/l), but pretreatment with L-158 809 resulted in ANGII having a modest insulin antagonist effect in this insulin-resistant model (SSPG values 9.6+/-0.3 vs 7.1+/-0.6, P<0.03). ANGII infusion had no significant effect on TGSR (e.g. 24.6+/-1.4 vs 28.4+/-0.9 mg/100 g per h in vehicle-treated animals). RT-PCR analysis showed that L6 cells express both AT(1)- and AT(2)-receptor mRNA. Incubation with ANGII (10(-9) and 10(-8) M) had no significant effect on the dose-response curve for insulin-stimulated [(3)H]2-deoxyglucose uptake. For example, C(I200) values (dose of insulin required to increase glucose uptake by 200%) were 4.5 x 10(-9) M (control) vs 3.9 x 10(-9) M and 6.2 x 10(-9) M, whereas the positive control (glucagon-like peptide-1) increased insulin sensitivity. Thus, ANGII infusion may have a modest insulin antagonist effect on glucose disposal in insulin-resistant fructose-fed rats pretreated with an AT(1)-blocker, but ANGII has no effect on TGSR or in vitro glucose uptake in L6 myoblasts. These findings are relevant to recent clinical discussions about the metabolic effects of ANGII and renin-angiotensin system blockade.
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