Joslin Research Shows Insulin Guards Against Artery Damage
Study could help to settle controversy about insulin use in type 2 diabetes
BOSTON, Mass. – May 4, 2010 – Long suspected of worsening artery damage in patients with diabetes, insulin instead protects blood vessels, a new study by Joslin Diabetes Center scientists indicates.
For decades, medical researchers have debated whether insulin can promote atherosclerosis, the buildup of cholesterol in blood vessels that causes coronary artery disease and stroke. This was no theoretical argument for those patients with type 2 diabetes who need insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels.
Joslin researchers now have produced clear evidence that insulin protects arteries. “These results are definitive, at least in animals,” says George L. King, M.D., Joslin’s Chief Scientific Officer and senior author on a paper reporting the study published on May 5 in Cell Metabolism online.
Extrapolating the findings to humans would suggest that physicians should not be so wary of prescribing insulin to patients with diabetes, suggests Dr. King, who heads Joslin’s Dianne Nunnally Hoppes Laboratory for Diabetes Complications and is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.