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Metabolism. 1996 Apr;45(4):526-31.

Insulin resistance associated with maternally inherited diabetes and deafness.

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Department of Medicine, Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Maternally inherited diabetes and deafness (MIDD) is a form of diabetes associated with mutation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that occurs in 1% to 2% of individuals with diabetes. Understanding the clinical course and abnormalities in insulin secretion and action in affected individuals should allow better understanding of how this genetic defect alter glucose metabolism. We report the clinical course of three individuals with mtDNA mutations and deafness. Subjects no. 1 and 2 had diabetes not yet requiring insulin therapy, and subject no. 3, the son of subject no. 2, had normal glucose tolerance. Defective oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) based on OXPHOS enzymology of skeletal muscle biopsy of subjects no. 1 and 2 showed activity of less than 5% of the tolerance level in complex III for subject no. 1 and in complexes I, I + III, and IV for subject no. 2. Assessing insulin secretion using insulin response to intravenous glucose and insulin sensitivity based on minimal model analysis of an insulin-modified frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIGT), first-phase insulin secretion was abnormal in subjects no. 1 and 2 and normal in subject no. 3 (AUC, 57, 93, and 1,235 pmol/L, respectively). In contrast, all three subjects had low insulin sensitivity indices (0.04, 0.14, and 0.27 x 10-4 x min/pmol/L, respectively). Subject no. 2, who underwent three FSIGT studies over a 16-month interval, showed transient improvement in insulin release in response to modification of diet and exercise (first-phase insulin AUC, 57 pmol/min v 287 pmol/min 10 months later; fasting insulin, 97 pmol/L v 237 pmol/L 10 months later), but by 16 months, first-phase insulin release and fasting insulin had decreased (AUC, 64 and 136 pmol/L, respectively) despite higher fasting glucose. We conclude that in our subjects with MIDD, insulin resistance is present and appears to precede defects in insulin release.

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