, Volume 34, Issue 7, pp 457-462

Increased plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 levels. A possible link between insulin resistance and atherothrombosis

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Summary

According to recent prospective studies, hypofibrinolysis due to elevated plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 levels appears to be an independent risk factor for myocardial reinfarction in men, and hyperinsulinaemia, a major indicator of insulin resistance is considered as a risk factor for coronary disease. It has recently been shown that insulin resistance is accompanied by an increased plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 concentration: A significant correlation coefficient was demonstrated between plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 and fasting plasma insulin in the normal population, in obese subjects, in Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic patients and in angina pectoris. Attempts to decrease insulin resistance such as fasting, diet, or administration of an oral anti-diabetic drug such as Metformin induced a parallel decrease in plasma insulin and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 levels. This inhibitor is produced by endothelial cells and by hepatocytes in culture. Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 synthesis by hepatocytes in culture was stimulated by an increasing insulin concentration, or low density lipoproteins, whereas the endothelial cell synthesis was stimulated by very low density lipoproteins especially when they were obtained from hypertriglyceridaemic patients. Therefore, a direct effect of insulin or lipoprotein changes on the cells which synthesize plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 could be responsible for its increased plasma concentration in insulin resistance states. The increase in plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 levels linked to hyperinsulinaemia is a tempting partial explanation for the association between insulin resistance and coronary disease.