Chronic exogenous hyperinsulinemia in pregnancy: A rat model of pregnancy-induced hypertension

Eduardo Podjarny, Jacques Bernheim, Bernard Katz, Janice Green, Judith Mekler, Michael Bursztyn

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Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are associated with essential hypertension. There is also evidence of hyperinsulinemia in women who developed hypertension in pregnancy (P). The present study examines whether chronic hyperinsulinemia in pregnant rats plays a role in the development of hypertension in pregnancy. A sustained-release insulin pellet was implanted subcutaneously in 15 Wistar rats (P-INS) 1 wk before and on day 7 of pregnancy; 14 control rats were sham-implanted (P-SHAM). Tail-cuff systolic BP (SBP), serum triglycerides, glucose, insulin, renal function, and urinary excretion of Na+ and of metabolites of nitric oxide were determined throughout pregnancy. Data were analyzed by ANOVA with basal body weight as covariate analysis of covariance. Results are expressed as the mean ± SD. Body weight; water and food intake; urine volume; creatinine clearance; and level of proteinuria at the end of pregnancy were similar in both groups. The number of fetuses was 9 ± 2.3 in P-INS versus 11 ± 2.4 in pregnant control rats (P < 0.05). Before mating, SBP was similar, but at the end of pregnancy SBP was 110 ± 18 mmHg in P-INS versus 85 ± 12 mmHg in pregnant rats (P < 0.05). Serum triglycerides and Na+ were also higher in P-INS rats. The fractional excretion of Na+ was 3.1 ± 1.0 versus 4.4 ± 1.5, respectively (P < 0.01). The percent increase in nitric oxide metabolite excretion was 233 ± 14 versus 370 ± 17%, respectively (P < 0.01). Chronic hyperinsulinemia, without sugar supplementation, and hypertriglyceridemia may cause a decrease in the synthesis of nitric oxide in P-INS rats. The development of hypertension in these rats may be associated with an impaired vasodilatation, together with an increased renal sodium reabsorption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-13
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


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