Aims/hypothesis: We investigated glucagon responses during OGTT and isoglycaemic i.v. glucose infusion, respectively, to further elucidate the mechanisms behind the glucose intolerance in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Materials and methods: Ten patients (eight men) with type 2 diabetes (age: 64 [51-80] years; BMI: 23 [21-26] kg/m(2); HbA(1c): 6.9 [6.2-8.7]%, values mean [range]) and ten control subjects matched for sex, age and BMI were studied. Blood was sampled on two separate days following a 4-h 50-g OGTT and an isoglycaemic i.v. glucose infusion, respectively.
Results: Isoglycaemia during the 2 days was obtained in both groups. In the control subjects no difference in glucagon suppression during the first 45 min of OGTT and isoglycaemic i.v. glucose infusion (-36 +/- 12 vs -64 +/- 23 mmol/l x 45 min; p = NS) was observed, whereas in the group of patients with type 2 diabetes significant glucagon suppression only occurred following isoglycaemic i.v. glucose infusion (-63 +/- 21 vs 10 +/- 16 mmol/l x 45 min; p = 0.002). The incretin effect was significantly reduced in patients with type 2 diabetes compared with control subjects, but no significant differences in the secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 or glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide between the two groups during OGTT or isoglycaemic i.v. glucose infusion, respectively, could explain this.
Conclusions/interpretation: Attenuated and delayed glucagon suppression in patients with type 2 diabetes occurs after oral ingestion of glucose, while isoglycaemic i.v. administration of glucose results in normal suppression of glucagon. We suggest that this phenomenon contributes both to the glucose intolerance and to the reduced incretin effect observed in patients with type 2 diabetes.