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Eur J Endocrinol. 2003 Jul;149(1):53-9.

Natural history of glucose tolerance, beta-cell function and peripheral insulin sensitivity in cystic fibrosis patients with fasting euglycemia.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Messina, Italy.



The loss of pancreatic beta-cells is thought to be one of the principal causes of diabetes mellitus (DM) in cystic fibrosis (CF), but the role of peripheral insulin resistance (IR) in the pathogenesis of DM in CF remains unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether eventual changes of glucose tolerance (GT) over time were associated with modifications of insulin secretion or sensitivity.


Plasma glucose and insulin responses to an oral GT test (OGTT) were investigated and reinvestigated 13 Years later in 14 CF patients with initial and persistent fasting euglycemia and no history of insulin treatment. Insulin sensitivity (IS) at both tests was assessed on the basis of insulin and glucose levels both in the fasting state and during OGTTs.


From the 1st to the 2nd OGTT: (a) the prevalence of DM responses significantly increased; (b) the areas beneath the respective glucose and insulin curves significantly increased and decreased respectively; (c) IR and IS indices decreased and increased respectively, even in the patients who developed DM; (d) pulmonary function significantly worsened in the entire series, especially in the patients who developed DM.


(i) the natural history of glyco-metabolic status in CF is characterized by deteriorating GT over time; (ii) insulinopenia plays a prominent role in the pathogenesis of GT worsening; (iii) IR does not play any significant part in the pathogenesis of DM development; (iv) deterioration of lung function tests is more severe in the subjects who develop DM over time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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