Glucagon-like Peptide 1 Recruits Muscle Microvasculature and Improves Insulin’s Metabolic Action in the Presence of Insulin Resistance

  1. Zhenqi Liu1
  1. 1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics, Central South University 2nd Xiangya Hospital, Hunan, China
  1. Address all correspondence to: Zhenqi Liu, Email: zl3e{at}


Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) acutely recruits muscle microvasculature, increases muscle delivery of insulin and enhances muscle use of glucose, independent of its effect on insulin secretion. To examine whether GLP-1 modulates muscle microvascular and metabolic insulin responses in the setting of insulin resistance, we assessed muscle microvascular blood volume (MBV), flow velocity and blood flow in control insulin sensitive rats and in rats made insulin resistant acutely (systemic lipid infusion) or chronically (high fat diet) before and after a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp (3 mU/kg/min) with or without superimposed systemic GLP-1 infusion. Insulin significantly recruited muscle microvasculature and addition of GLP-1 further expanded muscle MBV and increased insulin-mediated glucose disposal. GLP-1 infusion potently recruited muscle microvasculature in the presence of either acute or chronic insulin resistance by increasing muscle MBV. This was associated with an increased muscle delivery of insulin and muscle interstitial oxygen saturation. Muscle insulin sensitivity was completely restored in the presence of systemic lipid infusion and significantly improved in high fat diet rats. We conclude that GLP-1 infusion potently expands muscle microvascular surface area and improves insulin’s metabolic action in the insulin resistant states. This may contribute to improved glycemic control seen in diabetes patients receiving incretin-based therapy.

  • Received October 16, 2013.
  • Accepted March 17, 2014.

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  1. Diabetes
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