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Insulin resistance as a contributor to myocardial ischaemia independent of obstructive coronary atheroma: a role for insulin sensitisation?


There is good evidence to suggest that insulin resistance and its surrogate markers are at least modest independent cardiovascular risk factors. However, as well as long term effects on atheromatous coronary disease, there is a well described correlation between markers of insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction. In this review, the evidence for a relation between endothelial dysfunction and myocardial ischaemia is summarised. The evidence for a correlation between insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction and the proposed cellular mechanisms are also examined. Finally, the potential role for insulin sensitising strategies is looked at and recent data examining their effects on both endothelial function and clinical symptoms is examined. In conclusion, it was found that insulin sensitising modalities have a potential role in the amelioration of angina and that randomised controlled studies are therefore warranted.

  • NO, nitric oxide
  • PI3-kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase
  • endothelial dysfunction
  • insulin resistance
  • myocardial ischaemia
  • coronary atheroma

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