Objective: To obtain a better understanding of the physiological aspects of glucose homeostasis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with lipodystrophy, we evaluated separately beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity after an oral glucose load.
Design: Beta-cell function was investigated during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) (75 g, 180 min) in 16 lipodystrophic HIV-infected patients and in 15 age- and weight-matched nonlipodystrophic HIV-infected patients. All participants were sedentary Caucasian males, who were on highly active antiretroviral therapy with no history of diabetes mellitus or impaired glucose tolerance. Prehepatic insulin secretion rates were estimated by deconvolution of C-peptide concentrations. A composite measure of insulin sensitivity was derived from the OGTT.
Results: Beta-cell secretory capacity (i.e. the rate of change in insulin secretion per unit change in glucose concentration) was similar in lipodystrophic and nonlipodystrophic patients (6.2 +/- 1.0 mU kg(-1) min(-1) mg(-1) dl vs. 5.4 +/- 0.4, P > 0.4), but insulin sensitivity was reduced by 61% in lipodystrophic patients (P < 0.004). The disposition index (insulin capacity multiplied with insulin sensitivity) and insulin clearance rate were reduced in lipodystrophic patients (-55%, P < 0.003 and -31%, P < 0.004). Insulin clearance rate correlated strongly with insulin sensitivity (r = 0.82, P < 0.001). More lipodystrophic than nonlipodystrophic patients exhibited impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes mellitus (63%vs. 20%, P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Our data support the concept that impaired glucose tolerance in lipodystrophic HIV-infected patients relates to a failure of the beta-cells to fully compensate for decrements in insulin sensitivity despite simultaneous reduction in insulin clearance.