Adverse effects of reactive oxygen species on vascular reactivity in insulin resistance

Antioxid Redox Signal. Jul-Aug 2006;8(7-8):1131-40. doi: 10.1089/ars.2006.8.1131.


Insulin resistance (IR) has adverse effects on the reactivity of arteries and arterioles and promotes arterial hypertension and vascular occlusive diseases. Altered reactivity of resistance vessels occurs at both the endothelium and smooth-muscle levels. One major mechanism of vascular dysfunction with IR involves the augmented generation, availability, and/or actions of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Scavengers of ROS are able immediately to restore normal dilator responsiveness in arteries from IR animals. Other factors, such as increased importance of constrictor agents such as endothelin, also restrict normal dilator responses. The basis of ROS-mediated vascular dysfunction in IR may be secondary to underlying inflammatory processes throughout the arterial wall. Although ROS scavengers may be beneficial in the short term, prolonged treatments involving behavioral approaches, such as changes in diet, weight loss, and regular exercise, and pharmacological approaches, involving the use of insulin-sensitizing agents, inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system, or administration of statins, appear to offer benefits against the detrimental vascular effects of IR. Nonetheless, the most effective approach appears to involve prevention of IR via adoption of a healthy lifestyle by young people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Basilar Artery / drug effects
  • Blood Vessels / physiopathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Forecasting
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Zucker
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / adverse effects*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / pharmacology
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology
  • Vasodilation / physiology
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Potassium Channels
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Acetylcholine