Forearm vascular control during acute hyperglycemia in healthy humans

Ann S. Reed, Nisha Charkoudian, Adrian Vella, Pankaj Shah, Robert A. Rizza, Michael J. Joyner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The vascular endothelium is a site of pathological changes in patients with diabetes mellitus that may be related to severe chronic hyperglycemia. However, it is unclear whether transient hyperglycemia alters vascular function in an otherwise healthy human forearm. To test the hypothesis that acute, moderate hyperglycemia impairs endothelium-dependent forearm vasodilation, we measured vasodilator responses in 25 healthy volunteers (11 F, 14 M) assigned to one of three protocols. In protocol 1, glucose was varied to mimic a postprandial pattern (i.e., peak glucose ∼11.1 mmol/l) commonly observed in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance. Protocol 2 involved 6 h of mild hyperglycemia (∼7 mmol/l). Protocol 3 involved 6 h of euglycemia. Glucose concentration was maintained with a variable systemic glucose infusion. Insulin concentrations were maintained at ∼65 pmol/l by means of a somatostatin and "basal" insulin infusion. Glucagon and growth hormone were replaced at basal concentrations. Forearm blood flow (FBF) was calculated from Doppler ultrasound measurements at the brachial artery. In each protocol, FBF dose responses to intrabrachial acetylcholine (ACh) and sodium nitroprusside (NTP) were assessed at baseline and at 60, 180, and 360 min of glucose infusion. Peak endothelium-dependent vasodilator responses to ACh were not diminished by hyperglycemia in any trial. For example, peak responses to ACh during protocol 2 were 307 ± 47 ml/min at euglycemic baseline and 325 ± 52, 353 ± 65, and 370 ± 70 ml/min during three subsequent hyperglycemic trials (P = 0.46). Peak endothelium-independent responses to NTP infusion were also unaffected. We conclude that acute, moderate hyperglycemia does not cause short-term impairment of endothelial function in the healthy human forearm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E472-E480
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3 49-3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Endothelial function
  • Postprandial hyperglycemia
  • Vasodilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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