Contribution of insulin resistance to vascular dysfunction

Giovanni Anfossi, Isabella Russo, Gabriella Doronzo, Mariella Trovati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insulin is a vascular hormone, able to influence vascular cell responses. In this review, we consider the insulin actions on vascular endothelium and on vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) both in physiological conditions and in the presence of insulin resistance. In particular, we focus the relationships between activation of insulin signalling pathways of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3-K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and the different vascular actions of insulin, with a particular attention to the insulin ability to activate the pathway nitric oxide (NO)/cyclic GMP/PKG via PI3-K, owing to the peculiar relevance of NO in vascular biology. We also discuss the insulin actions mediated by the MAPK pathway (such as endothelin-1 synthesis and secretion and VSMC proliferation and migration) and by the interactions between the two pathways, both in insulin-sensitive and in insulin-resistant states. Finally, we consider the influence of free fatty acids, cytokines and endothelin on vascular insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-217
Number of pages19
JournalArchives of Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Endothelial cells
  • Insulin
  • Insulin resistance
  • Nitric oxide
  • Vascular smooth muscle cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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