Vascular insulin-like growth factor-I resistance and diet-induced obesity

Endocrinology. 2009 Oct;150(10):4575-82. doi: 10.1210/en.2008-1641. Epub 2009 Jul 16.


Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus are characterized by insulin resistance, reduced bioavailability of the antiatherosclerotic signaling molecule nitric oxide (NO), and accelerated atherosclerosis. IGF-I, the principal growth-stimulating peptide, which shares many of the effects of insulin, may, like insulin, also be involved in metabolic and vascular homeostasis. We examined the effects of IGF-I on NO bioavailability and the effect of obesity/type 2 diabetes mellitus on IGF-I actions at a whole-body level and in the vasculature. In aortic rings IGF-I blunted phenylephrine-mediated vasoconstriction and relaxed rings preconstricted with phenylephrine, an effect blocked by N(G)-monomethyl L-arginine. IGF-I increased NO synthase activity to an extent similar to that seen with insulin and in-vivo IGF-I led to serine phosphorylation of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). Mice rendered obese using a high-fat diet were less sensitive to the glucose-lowering effects of insulin and IGF-I. IGF-I increased aortic phospho-eNOS levels in lean mice, an effect that was blunted in obese mice. eNOS activity in aortae of lean mice increased 1.6-fold in response to IGF-I compared with obese mice. IGF-I-mediated vasorelaxation was blunted in obese mice. These data demonstrate that IGF-I increases eNOS phosphorylation in-vivo, increases eNOS activity, and leads to NO-dependent relaxation of conduit vessels. Obesity is associated with resistance to IGF-I at a whole-body level and in the endothelium. Vascular IGF-I resistance may represent a novel therapeutic target to prevent or slow the accelerated vasculopathy seen in humans with obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / physiology
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism
  • Serine / metabolism
  • Vasodilation*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Serine
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Receptor, Insulin