Obstructive sleep apnea causes intermittent hypoxia (IH) and is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. IH increases plasma catecholamine levels, which may increase insulin resistance and suppress insulin secretion. The objective of this study was to determine if adrenal medullectomy (MED) prevents metabolic dysfunction in IH. MED or sham surgery was performed in 60 male C57BL/6J mice, which were then exposed to IH or control conditions (intermittent air) for 6 weeks. IH increased plasma epinephrine and norepinephrine levels, increased fasting blood glucose and lowered basal and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. MED decreased baseline epinephrine and prevented the IH induced increase in epinephrine, whereas the norepinephrine response remained intact. MED improved glucose tolerance in mice exposed to IH, attenuated the impairment in basal and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, but did not prevent IH-induced fasting hyperglycemia or insulin resistance. We conclude that the epinephrine release from the adrenal medulla during IH suppresses insulin secretion causing hyperglycemia.
- Insulin secretion
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine