Hyperinsulinemia of preobese and obese fa/fa rats is partly vagus nerve mediated

Am J Physiol. 1983 Apr;244(4):E317-22. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1983.244.4.E317.


In vivo glucose-induced insulin secretion was greater in preweaned preobese 17-day-old Zucker rats than in the corresponding controls. This hypersecretion of insulin was reversed to normal by acute pretreatment with atropine. A short-lived (30 s) electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve preceding a glucose load potentiated the in vivo glucose-induced insulin release in adult animals (6-9 wk) and more so in obese Zucker (fa/fa) than in lean rats. This suggested the existence of enhanced sensitivity and/or responsiveness of the B cells of obese animals to the parasympathetic system. That the parasympathetic tone was increased in adult obese Zucker (fa/fa) rats was corroborated by the observation that acute vagotomy of these animals resulted in a significant decrease in glucose-induced insulin secretion, whereas no such effect was seen in lean rats. Also, perfused pancreases from adult obese (fa/fa) rats oversecreted insulin during a stimulation by arginine when compared with controls, an oversecretion that was restored toward normal by superimposed infusion of atropine. It is concluded that a) the increased insulin secretion of preobese Zucker fa/fa rats is an early abnormality that is mediated by the vagus nerve, and b) increased secretion of insulin in adult obese fa/fa rats continues to be partly vagus-nerve mediated, although a decreased sympathetic tone and other unknown defects could conceivably play a role as well.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Hyperinsulinism / physiopathology*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Kinetics
  • Mice
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Mutant Strains
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology*


  • Insulin
  • Atropine
  • Glucose