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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992 Jan;74(1):192-7.

Effect of insulin resistance and hyperglycemia on proinsulin release in a primate model of diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.


An elevated plasma proinsulin (PI) to immunoreactive insulin (IRI) ratio occurs in relatives of patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and in subjects with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. To determine whether this alteration is the result of B-cell dysfunction and/or insulin resistance, we infused nicotinic acid for 3 weeks to produce insulin resistance in five adolescent male baboons before and after the administration of streptozocin (200 mg/kg). We measured basal PI and IRI levels and the acute incremental PI (APIR) and IRI (AIRIR) responses to iv arginine. The quantity of IRI comprised of PI was calculated in the basal state (PI/IRI) and following arginine injection (APIR/AIRIR). Streptozocin administration did not change the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) compared to that in the normal animals (4.7 +/- 0.3 vs. 4.3 +/- 0.2 mM) but raised the PI/IRI (16.4 +/- 3.4 vs. 5.9 +/- 1.7%) and APIR/AIRIR (7.1 +/- 1.0 vs. 2.8 +/- 1.0%) due to a concurrent reduction in IRI and increase in PI concentrations. The induction of experimental insulin resistance with nicotinic acid in the normal animals had no effect on the FPG (4.4 +/- 0.2 mM) but in the streptozocin treated animals, fasting hyperglycemia (8.3 +/- 1.7 mM) developed. Neither the basal PI/IRI (10.2 +/- 2.2%) or the APIR/AIRIR (2.3 +/- 0.6%) increased in the insulin-resistant streptozocin animals thus being no different to that of normal control animals before or during experimental insulin resistance. We conclude that disproportionate proinsulinemia is a manifestation of B-cell damage from streptozocin which is not exacerbated by insulin resistance or hyperglycemia.

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