Effect of intranasally administered insulin on cerebral blood flow and perfusion: a randomized experiment in young and older adults

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Abimbola A. Akintola, Anna M. van Opstal, Rudi G. Westendorp, Iris Postmus, Jeroen van der Grond, Diana van Heemst

Insulin, a vasoactive modulator regulating peripheral and cerebral blood flow, has been consistently linked to aging and longevity. In this proof of principle study, using a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled crossover design, we explored the effects of intranasally administered insulin (40IU) on cerebral blood flow (CBF) and perfusion in older (60-69 years, n=11) and younger (20-26 years, n=8) adults. Changes in CBF through the major cerebropetal arteries were assessed via phase contrast MR-angiography, and regional cortical tissue perfusion via pseudo-continuous arterial spin labelling. Total flow through the major cerebropetal arteries was unchanged in both young and old. In the older participants, intranasal insulin compared to placebo increased perfusion through the occipital gray matter (65.2±11.0 mL/100g/min vs 61.2±10.1 mL/100g/min, P=0.001), and in the thalamus (68.28±6.75 mL/100g/min versus 63.31±6.84 mL/100g/min, P=0.003). Thus, intranasal insulin improved tissue perfusion of the occipital cortical brain region and the thalamus in older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)790-802
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2017

    Research areas

  • intranasal insulin, cerebral blood flow, aging, phase contrast MR angiography, continuous arterial spin labelling (CASL), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

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