Hypertension and peripheral insulin resistance. Possible mediating role of intracellular free magnesium

Am J Hypertens. 1990 May;3(5 Pt 1):373-9. doi: 10.1093/ajh/3.5.373.


To investigate the association of hypertension and insulin resistance, we utilized 31P-NMR spectroscopy to noninvasively assess intracellular free magnesium levels (Mgif) in erythrocytes of normotensive (n = 20) and essential hypertensive (n = 20) subjects given an oral 100 g glucose load. In hypertensive compared with normotensive subjects, fasting glucose and insulin levels were similar, but the integrated insulinemic responses to glucose were 45% greater (312 +/- 13.4 v 215 +/- 7.5 microU/mL, P less than .001). In hypertension, Mgif levels were significantly reduced (183 +/- 9 v 251 +/- 9 mumol/L, P less than .001), and for all subjects were closely and inversely related to systolic (r = -0.77, P less than .001) and diastolic (r = -0.81, P less than .001) blood pressures, and to the integrated insulin response (r = -0.72, P less than .001). Furthermore, while insulin responses were also related to the underlying systolic (r = 0.69, P less than .001) and diastolic (r = .73, P less than .001) pressures, these relations were no longer significant when adjusted for Mgif levels. We hypothesize that hypertension and peripheral insulin resistance may be different clinical expressions of a common abnormal intracellular ionic environment, characterized at least in part by suppressed levels of intracellular free magnesium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values


  • Insulin
  • Magnesium