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Diabetes. 2000 May;49(5):701-7.

Effects of free fatty acid elevation on postabsorptive endogenous glucose production and gluconeogenesis in humans.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine III, University of Vienna Medical School, Austria.


Effects of free fatty acids (FFAs) on endogenous glucose production (EGP) and gluconeogenesis (GNG) were examined in healthy subjects (n = 6) during stepwise increased Intralipid/heparin infusion (plasma FFAs 0.8+/-0.1, 1.8+/-0.2, and 2.8+/-0.3 mmol/l) and during glycerol infusion (plasma FFAs approximately 0.5 mmol/l). Rates of EGP were determined with D-[6,6-2H2]glucose and contributions of GNG from 2H enrichments in carbons 2 and 5 of blood glucose after 2H2O ingestion. Plasma glucose concentrations decreased by approximately 10% (P < 0.01), whereas plasma insulin increased by approximately 47% (P = 0.02) after 9 h of lipid infusion. EGP declined from 9.3+/-0.5 (lipid) and 9.0+/-0.8 pmol x kg(-1) x min(-1) (glycerol) to 8.4+/-0.5 and 8.2+/-0.7 micromol x kg(-1) x min(-1), respectively (P < 0.01). Contribution of GNG similarly rose (P < 0.01) from 46+/-4 and 52+/-3% to 65+/-8 and 78+/-7%. To exclude interaction of FFAs with insulin secretion, the study was repeated at fasting plasma insulin (approximately 35 pmol/l) and glucagon (approximately 90 ng/ml) concentrations using somatostatin-insulin-glucagon clamps. Plasma glucose increased by approximately 50% (P < 0.005) during lipid but decreased by approximately 12% during glycerol infusion (P < 0.005). EGP remained unchanged over the 9-h period (9.9+/-1.2 vs. 9.0+/-1.1 micromol x kg(-1) x min(-1)). GNG accounted for 62+/-5 (lipid) and 60+/-6% (glycerol) of EGP at time 0 and rose to 74+/-3% during lipid infusion only (P < 0.05 vs. glycerol: 64+/-4%). In conclusion, high plasma FFA concentrations increase the percent contribution of GNG to EGP and may contribute to increased rates of GNG in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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