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Diabetes. 2004 Dec;53 Suppl 3:S22-5.

Suppression of Beta-cell secretion by somatostatin does not fully reverse the disproportionate proinsulinemia of type 2 diabetes.

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  • 1Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Veteran Affairs, Puget Sound Health Care System, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


Disproportionate hyperproinsulinemia is a feature of beta-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes. It has been hypothesized that this abnormality represents an intrinsic abnormality of the beta-cell and/or may result from an increase in beta-cell secretory demand. To address this, six patients with type 2 diabetes and six age- and BMI-matched normal subjects received a combined 3-h insulin and somatostatin clamp to decrease beta-cell secretory demand. An arginine stimulation test was performed before and at the end of the clamp to measure beta-cell peptide release. In keeping with the reduction in secretory demand, C-peptide levels were suppressed by 60-80% during the clamp, as were proinsulin (PI) levels. The arginine-stimulated PI/C-peptide ratio decreased in the diabetic subjects from 4.4 +/- 1.5% before to 1.8 +/- 0.5% after the clamp (P < 0.01). This latter ratio was similar to that observed in the normal subjects before the somatostatin infusion (1.5 +/- 0.3%). In the normal subjects, after the clamp the PI/C-peptide ratio had decreased to 0.8 +/- 0.3% (P <0.01). Thus, the postclamp PI/C-peptide ratio in the subjects with type 2 diabetes was elevated compared with that in the normal subjects (P <0.05). Based on these observations, while relief of secretory demand on beta-cells by somatostatin decreases the disproportionate elevation in PI levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, the failure to normalize this measure suggests that an intrinsic abnormality of beta-cell function exists in subjects with type 2 diabetes that may be aggravated by increased secretory demand.

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