Adaptation of Insulin Clearance to Metabolic Demand Is a Key Determinant of Glucose Tolerance

Amalia Gastaldelli, Muhammad Abdul Ghani, Ralph A. DeFronzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


With the development of insulin resistance (IR), there is a compensatory increase in the plasma insulin response to offset the defect in insulin action to maintain normal glucose tolerance. The insulin response is the result of two factors: insulin secretion and metabolic clearance rate of insulin (MCRI). Subjects (104 with normal glucose tolerance [NGT], 57 with impaired glucose tolerance [IGT], and 207 with type 2 diabetes mellitus [T2DM]), divided in nonobese and obese groups, received a euglycemic insulin-clamp (40 mU/m2 ⋅ min) and an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) (75 g) on separate days. MCRI was calculated during the insulin-clamp performed with [3-3H]glucose and the OGTT and related to IR: peripheral (glucose uptake during the insulin clamp), hepatic (basal endogenous glucose production × fasting plasma insulin [FPI]), and adipocyte (fasting free fatty acid × FPI). MCRI during the insulin clamp was reduced in obese versus nonobese NGT (0.60 ± 0.03 vs. 0.73 ± 0.02 L/min ⋅ m2, P < 0.001), in nonobese IGT (0.62 ± 0.02, P < 0.004), and in nonobese T2DM (0.68 ± 0.02, P < 0.03). The MCRI during the insulin clamp was strongly and inversely correlated with IR (r = -0.52, P < 0.0001). During the OGTT, the MCRI was suppressed within 15-30 min in NGT and IGT subjects and remained suppressed. In contrast, suppression was minimal in T2DM. In conclusion, the development of IR in obese subjects is associated with a decline in MCRI that represents a compensatory response to maintain normal glucose tolerance but is impaired in individuals with T2DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-385
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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