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The aim of the present study was to investigate whether hyperinsulinaemia, which frequently precedes insulin resistance syndrome (obesity, diabetes), induces apoptosis of endothelial cells (ECs) in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and causes BAT atrophy and also, to investigate the possible mechanisms underlying ECs death. In order to induce hyperinsulinaemia, adult male rats of Wistar strain were treated with high dose of insulin (4 U/kg, intraperitonealy) for one or three days. Examinations at ultrastructural level showed apoptotic changes of ECs, allowing us to point out that changes mainly but not exclusively, occur in nuclei. Besides different stages of condensation and alterations of the chromatin, nuclear fragmentation was also observed. Higher number of ECs apoptotic nuclei in the BAT of hyperinsulinaemic rats was also confirmed by propidium iodide staining. Immunohistochemical localization of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-Î±) revealed increased expression in ECs of BAT of hyperinsulinaemic animals, indicating its possible role in insulin-induced apoptotic changes. These results suggest that BAT atrophy in hyperinsulinaemia is a result of endothelial and adipocyte apoptosis combined, rather than any of functional components alone.
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