Glucocorticoids affect metabolic but not muscle microvascular insulin sensitivity following high versus low salt intake

Monica T. J. Schutten, Yvo H. A. M. Kusters, Alfons J. H. M. Houben, Hanneke E. Niessen, Jos Op't Roodt, Jean L. J. M. Scheijen, Marjo P. van de Waardenburg, Casper G. Schalkwijk, Peter W. de Leeuw, Coen D. A. Stehouwer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND. Salt-sensitive hypertension is often accompanied by insulin resistance in obese individuals, but the underlying mechanisms are obscure. Microvascular function is known to affect both salt sensitivity of blood pressure and metabolic insulin sensitivity. We hypothesized that excessive salt intake increases blood pressure and decreases insulin-mediated glucose disposal, at least in part by impairing insulin-mediated muscle microvascular recruitment (IMMR).

METHODS. In 20 lean and 20 abdominally obese individuals, we assessed mean arterial pressure (MAP; 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure measurements), insulin-mediated whole-body glucose disposal (M/I value; hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp technique), IMMR (contrast-enhanced ultrasound), osmolyte and water balance, and excretion of mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, and amino and organic acids after a low- and high-salt diet during 7 days in a randomized, double-blind, crossover design.

RESULTS. On a low-, as compared with a high-salt, intake, MAP was lower, M/I value was lower, and IMMR was greater in both lean and abdominally obese individuals. In addition, natural logarithm IMMR was inversely associated with MAP in lean participants on a low-salt diet only. On a high-salt diet, free water clearance decreased, and excretion of glucocorticoids and of amino acids involved in the urea cycle increased.

CONCLUSION. Our findings imply that hemodynamic and metabolic changes resulting from alterations in salt intake are not necessarily associated. Moreover, they are consistent with the concept that a high-salt intake increases muscle glucose uptake as a response to high salt-induced, glucocorticoid-driven muscle catabolism to stimulate urea production and thereby renal water conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127530
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2020


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