Angiotensin II receptor blockade and insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese adults with elevated blood pressure
Currently, it is reported that ~65% and 34% of the U.S. population is overweight and obese, respectively. Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Overweight and obese individuals are also at an increased risk of developing hypertension. Whole-body insulin sensitivity is reduced in obesity, resulting in insulin resistance and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. One possible mechanism contributing to insulin resistance in obesity hypertension is renin-angiotensin system (RAS) overactivation. The RAS exhibits vasocontricting and sodium-retaining properties, yet in vivo and in vitro animal experiments suggest impairment of whole-body insulin sensitivity with increased angiotensin II (Ang II) exposure. Furthermore, evidence from clinical studies indicates Ang II receptor blockers (ARBs) may reduce the incidence of new-onset diabetes compared to other antihypertensive agents in at-risk hypertensive patients. However, it is unclear if whole-body insulin sensitivity is improved with Ang II receptor blockade in humans. Thus, we tested the hypothesis that 8-week Ang II receptor blockade with olmesartan would improve whole-body insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese individuals with elevated blood pressure (BP). Olmesartan was selected for the present study because it is devoid of partial PPARÎ³ agonist activity. To test our hypothesis, intravenous glucose tolerance tests were performed to measure insulin sensitivity before and after control and ARB treatment in a randomized crossover manner. Because skeletal muscle tissue accounts for ~75-90% of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, a secondary exploratory aim was to examine skeletal muscle inflammatory and collagen response in relation to insulin sensitivity during ARB treatment. No baseline differences were observed between treatments (P>0.05). Both systolic (-11.7 mmHg; P=0.008) and diastolic (-12.1 mmHg; P=0.000) BP were reduced with ARB treatment. Insulin sensitivity was not different between treatments (P>0.05). No correlates of insulin sensitivity were identified. In addition, skeletal muscle inflammatory and collagen gene expression did not change from pre- to post-ARB treatment (P>0.05). Our findings suggest that short-term RAS blockade in overweight and obese adults with elevated BP does not improve whole-body insulin sensitivity, despite a significant BP reduction. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of individual RAS blockers on insulin sensitivity during RAS inhibition in obesity hypertension.