Crissey, Jacqueline M; Padilla, Jaume; Vieira-Potter, Victoria J; Thorne, Pamela K; Koch, Lauren G; Britton, Steven L; Thyfault, John P; Laughlin, M H
Low-intrinsic aerobic capacity is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and is a strong predictor of early mortality. The effects of intrinsic aerobic capacity on the vascular response to insulin are largely unknown. We tested the hypothesis that rats selectively bred for a low capacity to run (LCR) exhibit vascular dysfunction and impaired vascular reactivity to insulin compared to high capacity running (HCR) rats. Mature female LCR (n = 21) and HCR (n = 17) rats were maintained under sedentary conditions, and in vitro thoracic aortic vascular function was assessed. LCR exhibited greater body mass (13%), body fat (35%), and subcutaneous, perigonadal, and retroperitoneal adipose tissue mass, than HCR. During an intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test, glucose area under the curve (AUC) was not different but insulin AUC was 2-fold greater in LCR than HCR. Acetylcholine and insulin-stimulated aortic vasorelaxation was significantly greater in LCR (65.2 ± 3.8%, and 32.7 ± 4.1%) than HCR (55.0 ± 3.3%, and 16.7 ± 2.8%). Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) with L-NAME entirely abolished insulin-mediated vasorelaxation in the aorta of LCR, with no effect in HCR. LCR rats exhibited greater expression of Insulin Receptor protein, lower Endothelin Receptor-A protein, a down-regulation of transcripts for markers of immune cell infiltration (CD11C, CD4, and F4/80) and up-regulation of pro-atherogenic inflammatory genes (VCAM-1 and MCP-1) in the aorta wall. Contrary to our hypothesis, low-aerobic capacity was associated with enhanced aortic endothelial function and NO-mediated reactivity to insulin, despite increased adiposity and evidence of whole body insulin resistance.