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Diabet Med. 1988 Jan;5(1):36-41.

Natural history of pancreatic islet B-cell function in type 2 diabetes mellitus studied over six years by homeostasis model assessment.

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Diabetes Research Laboratories, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford.


Islet B-cell function and insulin sensitivity were estimated with the aid of a mathematical model from repeated fasting plasma glucose and insulin measurements over a 6 year period in 131 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who could be managed satisfactorily on dietary therapy alone. They presented between the ages of 40 and 69 years, and were studied before and after one year of treatment, and then at regular intervals from 12 until 72 months later. A method of averaging the individual trends by means of a linear model regression technique was used to assess the progression of their diabetes. Dietary management over the first 12 months resulted in weight loss from 118% to 106% average body weight, and improved insulin sensitivity from 26% to 40% of normal (p less than 0.001). From 12 to 72 months, the fasting plasma glucose rose at a mean rate of 0.23 mmol/l per year (p less than 0.001) despite a rate of weight loss of 0.2% average body weight per year (p less than 0.01). The estimated islet B-cell function, expressed as a percentage of normal, decreased significantly (p less than 0.05) at a rate of 1.5% per year, with no statistically significant change in insulin sensitivity. Extrapolation suggests the reduction in B-cell function predated the departure of fasting plasma glucose from the normal range.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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