Chronic exposure to elevated norepinephrine suppresses insulin secretion in fetal sheep with placental insufficiency and intrauterine growth restriction

Rafael A. Leos, Miranda J. Anderson, Xiaochuan Chen, Juliana Pugmire, K. Arbor Anderson, Sean W. Limesand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we examined chronic norepinephrine suppression of insulin secretion in sheep fetuses with placental insufficiency-induced intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) was measured with a square-wave hyperglycemic clamp in the presence or absence of adrenergic receptor antagonists phentolamine (α) and propranolol (β). IUGR fetuses were hypoglycemic and hypoxemic and had lower GSIS responsiveness (P ≤ 0.05) than control fetuses. IUGR fetuses also had elevated plasma norepinephrine (3,264 ± 614 vs. 570 ± 86 pg/ml; P ≤ 0.05) and epinephrine (164 ± 32 vs. 60 ± 12 pg/ml; P ≤ 0.05) concentrations. In control fetuses, adrenergic inhibition increased baseline plasma insulin concentrations (1.7-fold, P ≤ 0.05), whereas during hyperglycemia insulin was not different. A greater (P ≤ 0.05) response to adrenergic inhibition was found in IUGR fetuses, and the average plasma insulin concentrations increased 4.9-fold at baseline and 7.1-fold with hyperglycemia. Unlike controls, basal plasma glucose concentrations fell (P ≤ 0.05) with adrenergic antagonists. GSIS responsiveness, measured by the change in insulin, was higher (8.9-fold, P ≤ 0.05) in IUGR fetuses with adrenergic inhibition than controls (1.8-fold, not significant), showing that norepinephrine suppresses insulin secretion in IUGR fetuses. Strikingly, in IUGR fetuses, adrenergic inhibition resulted in a greater GSIS responsiveness, because β-cell mass was 56% lower and the maximal stimulatory insulin response tended (P < 0.1) to be higher than controls. This persistent norepinephrine suppression appears to be partially explained by higher mRNA concentrations of adrenergic receptors α1D, α2A, and α2B in a cohort of fetuses that were naïve to the antagonists. Therefore, norepinephrine suppression of insulin secretion was maintained, in part, by upregulating adrenergic receptor expression, but the β-cells also appeared to compensate with enhanced GSIS. These findings may begin to explain why IUGR infants have a propensity for increased glucose requirements if norepinephrine is suddenly decreased after birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E770-E778
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume298
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

Keywords

  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion
  • Hypoxia
  • Islets of langerhans
  • Pancreas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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