Insulin sensitivity regulated by feeding in the conscious unrestrained rat
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Hepatic insulin sensitizing substance (HISS), a putative hormone released from the liver in response to insulin in fed animals, accounts for 50-60% of insulin action. HISS release is regulated by permissive control of the hepatic parasympathetic nerves. The objectives were to develop the rapid insulin sensitivity test (RIST) in conscious rats, and to assess the effects of anesthesia, atropine, feeding, and fasting on insulin action. The RIST index, expressed as milligrams glucose per kilogram body weight required to maintain euglycemia after a 50 mU/kg bolus of insulin, was similar in conscious and anesthetized rats (238.6 +/- 42.5 vs. 225.3 +/- 30.4 mg/kg). Atropine produced a 56% inhibition of insulin action in fed rats. After a 24 h fast, full HISS-dependent insulin resistance had developed as shown by a low RIST index that was not reduced further by atropine. Fasting caused a 10.5% decrease in insulin action per hour over six hours. HISS-dependent insulin resistance in 24-h fasted rats was reversed 4 h after re-feeding (90.9 +/- 12.3 vs. 204.5 +/- 30.5 mg/kg). We conclude that HISS-dependent and HISS-independent insulin action, as assessed by the RIST, is similar in conscious and pentobarbital-anesthetized rats. Pharmacological blockade of HISS-dependent insulin action and physiological regulation of HISS action by feeding-fasting is confirmed. Re-feeding fasted rats reversed HISS-dependent insulin resistance. Merits of use of the RIST in conscious versus anesthetized rats are discussed.