Glucagon-like peptide 1 recruits muscle microvasculature and improves insulin's metabolic action in the presence of insulin resistance

Diabetes. 2014 Aug;63(8):2788-99. doi: 10.2337/db13-1597. Epub 2014 Mar 21.


Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) acutely recruits muscle microvasculature, increases muscle delivery of insulin, and enhances muscle use of glucose, independent of its effect on insulin secretion. To examine whether GLP-1 modulates muscle microvascular and metabolic insulin responses in the setting of insulin resistance, we assessed muscle microvascular blood volume (MBV), flow velocity, and blood flow in control insulin-sensitive rats and rats made insulin-resistant acutely (systemic lipid infusion) or chronically (high-fat diet [HFD]) before and after a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp (3 mU/kg/min) with or without superimposed systemic GLP-1 infusion. Insulin significantly recruited muscle microvasculature and addition of GLP-1 further expanded muscle MBV and increased insulin-mediated glucose disposal. GLP-1 infusion potently recruited muscle microvasculature in the presence of either acute or chronic insulin resistance by increasing muscle MBV. This was associated with an increased muscle delivery of insulin and muscle interstitial oxygen saturation. Muscle insulin sensitivity was completely restored in the presence of systemic lipid infusion and significantly improved in rats fed an HFD. We conclude that GLP-1 infusion potently expands muscle microvascular surface area and improves insulin's metabolic action in the insulin-resistant states. This may contribute to improved glycemic control seen in diabetic patients receiving incretin-based therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / administration & dosage
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / pharmacology*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipids / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucose