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Diabetologia. 2005 Sep;48(9):1872-81. Epub 2005 Jul 12.

Secretion of incretin hormones and the insulinotropic effect of gastric inhibitory polypeptide in women with a history of gestational diabetes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine I, St Josef Hospital, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Bochum, Germany. jmeier@mednet.ucla.edu



The insulinotropic effect of gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) is reduced in patients with type 2 diabetes and around 50% of their first-degree relatives under hyperglycaemic conditions. It is unknown whether this is a result of a specific defect in GIP action or of a general reduction in beta cell function. Moreover, impaired secretion of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) has been described in patients with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, we studied the insulinotropic effect of GIP in women with previous gestational diabetes (pGDM) under euglycaemic fasting conditions and during a hyperglycaemic clamp experiment. The secretion of GIP and GLP-1 was assessed following oral glucose ingestion.


On separate occasions we performed an OGTT and administered an i.v. bolus of 20 pmol GIP/kg body weight in 20 women with pGDM and 20 control women. An additional hyperglycaemic clamp experiment (140 mg/dl [7.8 mmol/l] over 120 min) with i.v. infusion of GIP (2 pmol kg(-1) min(-1); 30-90 min) was performed in 14 women in each group. Capillary and venous blood samples were drawn for the measurement of glucose (glucose oxidase), insulin, C-peptide, GIP and GLP-1 (specific immunoassays). Indices of insulin sensitivity and beta cell function were calculated. Statistical analyses were carried out using repeated measures ANOVA.


Following oral glucose ingestion, plasma glucose, insulin and C-peptide concentrations increased to higher levels in the women with pGDM than in the control women (p<0.05). The women with pGDM were characterised by a higher degree of insulin resistance than the control women (p=0.007 for the Matsuda index), but showed no overt defects in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (p=0.40 for the insulinogenic index following i.v. glucose). The secretion of GLP-1 and GIP was not different between the groups (p=0.87 and p=0.57, respectively). The insulin secretory response to GIP administration was similar in the two groups both after GIP bolus administration and during the hyperglycaemic clamp experiment (p=0.99 and p=0.88, respectively). A hyperbola-like relationship was found between the degree of insulin sensitivity (Matsuda index) and the insulin secretory response to GIP and i.v. glucose administration.


These results do not support the hypothesis of an early defect in GIP action as a risk factor for subsequent development of diabetes in women with previous gestational diabetes. The inverse relationship between insulin resistance and the insulin secretory response to glucose or GIP suggests that beta cell secretory function in response to different stimuli increases adaptively when insulin sensitivity is diminished.

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