Relationship of muscle sympathetic nerve activity to insulin sensitivity

Timothy B. Curry, Casey N. Hines, Jill N. Barnes, Madhuri Somaraju, Rita Basu, John M. Miles, Michael J. Joyner, Nisha Charkoudian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: An association between insulin resistance and activation of the sympathetic nervous system has been reported in previous studies. However, potential interactions between insulin sensitivity and sympathetic neural mechanisms in healthy people remain poorly understood. We conducted a study to determine the relationship between sympathetic activity and insulin resistance in young, healthy humans. Methods: Thirty-seven healthy adults (18-35 years, BMI <28 kg m-2) were studied. Resting muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) was measured with microneurography and insulin sensitivity of glucose and free fatty acid metabolism was measured during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp with two levels of insulin. Results: During lower doses of insulin, we found a small association between lower insulin sensitivity and higher MSNA (P < 0.05) but age was a cofactor in this relationship. Overall, we found no difference in insulin sensitivity between groups of low and high MSNA, but when women were analyzed separately, insulin sensitivity was lower in the high MSNA group compared with the low MSNA group of women. Conclusions: These data suggest that MSNA and insulin sensitivity are only weakly associated with young healthy individuals and that age and sex may be important modifiers of this relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Autonomic Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014


  • Body composition
  • Glucose clamp technique
  • Insulin resistance
  • Sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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