Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2016Peer reviewedOpen access

Blood pressure in Warmblood horses before and during a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp

Nostell, Katarina E. A.; Lindase, Sanna S.; Brojer, Johan T.


Background: Insulin resistance (IR) in humans is related to hypertension and impaired vasodilation. Insulin administration has been shown to lower blood pressure both in insulin resistant as well as in insulin sensitive individuals. The aim of the study was to investigate the association between insulin sensitivity and alterations in blood pressure in healthy horses before and after a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp (EHC). A 3-h EHC was performed in 13 healthy horses (11 mares, 2 geldings). Blood samples for measurement of plasma glucose and insulin were collected before the start of the EHC, every 10 min during the EHC and immediately after the EHC. Mean, systolic- and diastolic blood pressure was measured before and during the final 10 min of the EHC using an indirect high-definition oscillometric monitor (HDO, horse model) applied to the middle of the coccygeal artery. Five consecutive measurements were made in each horse and on each occasion. Insulin and glucose data from the EHC were used to calculate the mean rate of glucose disposal per unit of insulin during steady state (M/I ratio). Insulin resistance was defined as a M/I ratio <5 mg/kg/min/mUL (Lindase et al. in Am J Vet Res 77: 300-309, 2016).Results: Insulin administration decreased systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressure in all horses. The M/I ratio for all horses was negatively correlated with the decrease in systolic blood pressure (r(2) = 0.55, P = 0.004) and mean arterial pressure (r(2) = 0.31, P = 0.048) but not diastolic blood pressure (r(2) = 0.12, P = 0.26). Eight horses were defined as insulin resistant (IR) and five horses had normal insulin sensitivity. The five horses with normal insulin sensitivity showed a greater decrease in systolic blood pressure (-17.0 +/- 7.4 vs. -3.4 +/- 4.6 mmHg, P = 0.001) and MAP (19.2 +/- 14.7 vs. 6.9 +/- 8.7 mmHg, P = 0.04) than IR horses. There was no difference in the decrease in diastolic blood pressure between groups (16 +/- 12.8 vs. 8.9 +/- 12.1 mmHg, P = 0.17).Conclusions: This study indicates that there is a relationship between insulin sensitivity and systolic and MAP in horses. However, studies on a larger number of horses are needed to confirm this association.


Insulin resistance; Horse; Blood pressure; Euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2016, Volume: 58, number: Supplement 1, article number: 65