Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate: 1) the effects of insulin administration on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) during exercise, and 2) the eventual impairment of the cardiovascular response to insulin in noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
Background: Insulin influences the cardiovascular system, but its effect on left ventricular function has yet to be established.
Methods: The effects of normal saline (test A) and insulin-glucose (insulin = 1.7 mU x kg(-1) x min(-1); glucose = 6 mg x kg(-1)min(-1)) (test B) infusions on systolic and diastolic functions at rest and during dynamic exercise were examined by radionuclide ventriculography. Twenty-two noninsulin-dependent diabetic patients and 22 gender, age and body mass index matched healthy subjects were investigated.
Results: Both groups had normal scintigraphic parameters at rest and during dynamic exercise. Rest- and stress-LVEF as well as rest- and stress-peak filling rate were significantly (p < 0.001) lower in diabetic than in healthy subjects, both in test A and B. Rest-LVEF was significantly higher during test B than it was in test A only in diabetic subjects (p < 0.01). Stress-LVEF was significantly higher (p < 0.05) during test B than it was in test A, in both groups. Insulin-glucose infusion did not modify rest- and stress-peak filling rate in either group. No difference in left ventricular end diastolic volume and in mean blood pressure was found between test A and B at rest and during exercise in either group. A significant linear correlation between LVEF and the index of insulin sensitivity was found in diabetic patients.
Conclusions: In both normal and diabetic humans, insulin induces a very important rise in LVEF after submaximal work. However, the rise is significantly lower in diabetic than in nondiabetic subjects. The increase in exercise-LVEF on insulin is likely due to an enhancement of ventricular contractility. Insulin resistance could justify the lower angioscintigraphic indexes in diabetic subjects.