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Horm Metab Res. 1993 Mar;25(3):160-4.

Mononuclear leukocytes from obese patients with type II diabetes have reduced activity of hexokinase, 6-phosphofructokinase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.

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Department of Metabolic Diseases, University of Verona, Italy.


In the present study we measured the activity of some cytosolic enzymes involved in intracellular glucose metabolism in mononuclear leukocytes from 77 obese subjects of which 39 were nondiabetic and 38 had newly-diagnosed untreated type II diabetes mellitus. 28 subjects (19 nondiabetic and 18 diabetic) had also a study of insulin binding to monocytes. 35 subjects (14 nondiabetic, 21 diabetic) underwent an insulin tolerance test for the evaluation of in vivo insulin action. Mononuclear leukocytes from diabetic obese patients showed significantly lower activities of hexokinase (HK), 6-phosphofructokinase (PFK) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), while pyruvate kinase (PK) and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PGDH) activities were similar in the two groups. In the whole population HK and G6PDH activities inversely correlated with fasting and 2-h OGTT plasma glucose levels. Neither plasma insulin levels nor maximal specific insulin binding to monocytes were significantly correlated with any of the enzyme activities measured. Conversely, the parameter of insulin action generated by insulin tolerance test significantly correlated with HK, G6PDH and 6PGDH. These results indicate that in obese subjects the presence of diabetes is associated with a reduced activity of some enzymes of glucose metabolism in mononuclear leukocytes. This multiple enzymatic defect is correlated with the impairment of in vivo insulin action.

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