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Insulin lowers more than blood sugar

Millions of people with diabetes control their blood sugar with insulin. Might the hormone also protect their hearts?

Insulin injections into nondiabetic obese people reduced their production of several inflammatory molecules and increased synthesis of certain anti-inflammatory agents, according to tests of blood samples by researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo. This response to insulin injections suggests that chronic use of the hormone could have long-term benefits, including limiting inflammation in blood vessels and thereby protecting the heart from atherosclerosis, the investigators speculate.

"This is a brand new property of insulin," says Paresh Dandona. He and his colleagues report their results in the July Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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