Microvascular dysfunction as a link between obesity, insulin resistance and hypertension

U. Karaca, M. T. Schram, A. J. H. M. Houben*, D. M. J. Muris, C. D. A. Stehouwer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Impaired microvascular dilatation from any cause and impaired insulin-mediated capillary recruitment in particular result in suboptimal delivery of glucose and insulin to skeletal muscle, and subsequently impairment of glucose disposal (insulin resistance). In addition, microvascular dysfunction, through functional and/or structural arteriolar and capillary drop-out, and arteriolar constriction, increases peripheral resistance and thus blood pressure. Microvascular dysfunction may thus constitute a pathway that links insulin resistance and hypertension. Overweight and obesity may be an important cause of microvascular dysfunction. Mechanisms linking overweight and obesity to microvascular dysfunction include changes in the secretion of adipokines leading to increased levels of free fatty acids and inflammatory mediators, and decreased levels of adiponectin all of which may impair endothelial insulin signaling. Microvascular dysfunction may thus constitute a new treatment target in the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-387
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Microvascular dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Hypertension

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