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J Endocrinol Invest. 1986 Oct;9(5):353-7.

Impaired insulin response to glucose but not to arginine in heroin addicts.


Plasma glucose, insulin, glucagon and growth hormone responses to both oral glucose and iv arginine were evaluated in 15 heroin addicts and 15 control subjects matched for age, sex and weight. The heroin users had an exaggerated rise in plasma glucose concentrations following oral sugar, which persisted until the end of the study (102 +/- 5 mg/dl in addicts vs 72 +/- 3 mg/dl in controls at 240 min, p less than 0.01) and significantly lower insulin responses (insulin peak 28 +/- 4 microU/ml in addicts vs 67 +/- 8 microU/ml in controls, p less than 0.01). The inhibitory effect of glucose on glucagon concentrations was less evident in addicts than in controls. The responses of plasma glucose, insulin and glucagon to arginine were not significantly different between addicts and controls, while the growth hormone rise was significantly greater in addicts. These results demonstrate that heroin users have impaired insulin secretion to oral glucose but not to arginine and suggest that: the impaired insulin secretion in heroin addicts is not dependent on beta-cell exhaustion, and a selective inhibition of glucose-induced insulin secretion is operative in these subjects, as it happens in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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