Effect of vanadate on elevated blood glucose and depressed cardiac performance of diabetic rats

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Science  22 Mar 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4693, pp. 1474-1477
DOI: 10.1126/science.3156405


The trace element vanadium has an unclear biological function. Vanadate, an oxidized form of vanadium, appears to have an insulin-like action. The effect of vanadate on blood glucose and cardiac performance was assessed in female Wistar rats 6 weeks after they were made diabetic with streptozotocin. When vanadate was administered for a 4-week period to the diabetic rats, their blood glucose was not significantly different from that of nondiabetic controls despite a low serum insulin. In contrast, blood glucose was increased about threefold in the diabetic rats that were not treated with vanadate; these rats also had low insulin levels. Cardiac performance was depressed in the untreated diabetic animals, but the cardiac performance of the vanadate-treated diabetic animals was not significantly different from that of nondiabetic controls. Thus vanadate controlled the high blood glucose and prevented the decline in cardiac performance due to diabetes.