Assessment of beta-cell function during the oral glucose tolerance test by a minimal model of insulin secretion

Eur J Clin Invest. 2001 May;31(5):405-16. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2362.2001.00827.x.


Objective: To characterise the performance of beta-cell during a standard oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

Design: Fifty-six subjects were studied. A minimal analogic model of beta-cell secretion during the OGTT was applied to all OGTTs (see below). The amount of insulin secreted over 120' in response to oral glucose (OGTT-ISR; Insulin Units 120'-1 m-2 BSA) and an index of beta-cell secretory 'force' (beta-Index; pmol.min-2.m-2 BSA) were computed with the aid of the model. In protocol A, 10 healthy subjects underwent two repeat 75 g OGTT with frequent (every 10'-15') blood sampling for glucose and C-peptide to test the reproducibility of OGTT-ISR and beta-Index with a complete or a reduced data set. In protocol B, 7 healthy subjects underwent three OGTTs (50, 100 or 150 g), to test the stability of the beta-Index under different glucose loads. In protocol C, 29 subjects (15 with normal glucose tolerance, 7 with impaired glucose tolerance and 7 with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes) underwent two repeat 75 g OGTT with reduced (every 30' for 120') blood sampling to compare the reproducibility and the discriminant ratio (DR) of OGTT-ISR and beta-index with the insulinogenic index (IG-Index: Delta Insulin 30' - Basal/Delta Glucose 30' - Basal). In protocol D, 20 subjects (14 with normal glucose tolerance, 5 with impaired glucose tolerance and 1 with newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes) underwent a 75 g OGTT and an intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) on separate days to explore the relationships between acute (0'-10') insulin response (AIR) during the IVGTT and beta-index and OGTT-ISR during the OGTT.

Results: In all protocols, the minimal analogic model of C-peptide secretion achieved a reasonable fit of the experimental data. In protocol A, a good reproducibility of both beta-index and OGTT-ISR was observed with both complete and reduced (every 30') data sets. In protocol B, increasing the oral glucose load caused progressive increases in OGTT-ISR (from 2.63 +/- 0.70 to 5.11 +/- 0.91 Units.120'-1.m-2 BSA; P < 0.01), but the beta-index stayed the same (4.14 +/- 0.35 vs. 4.29 +/- 0.30 vs. 4.30 +/- 0.33 pmol.min-2.m-2 BSA). In protocol C, both OGTT-ISR and beta-index had lower day-to-day CVs (17.6 +/- 2.2 and 12.4 +/- 2.4%, respectively) and higher DRs (2.57 and 1.74, respectively) than the IG-index (CV: 35.5 +/- 6.3%; DR: 0.934). OGTT-ISR was positively correlated to BMI (P < 0.03), whereas beta-index was inversely related to both fasting and 2 h plasma glucose (P < 0.01 for both). In protocol D, beta-index, but not OGTT-ISR, was significantly correlated to AIR (r = 0.542, P < 0.02).

Conclusions: Analogically modelling beta-cell function during the OGTT provides a simple, useful tool for the physiological assessment of beta-cell function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test / methods*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Peptides / blood
  • Random Allocation
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Peptides
  • polypeptide C