Aims/hypothesis: The loss of incretin effect in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus may be secondary to impaired glucose homeostasis. We investigated whether reduced glucose tolerance and insulin resistance induced by steroid treatment, relative physical inactivity, and high-calorie diet in healthy young males would impair the incretin effect.
Methods: The incretin effect was measured using 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and isoglycemic iv glucose infusion (IIGI) in 10 healthy Caucasian normal glucose-tolerant male subjects without any family history of diabetes [age 24 + or - 3 yr (mean + or - sd); body mass index 23 + or - 2 kg/m(2); glycosylated hemoglobin 5.4 + or - 0.1%] before and at the end of a 12-d period with oral administration of prednisolone (37.5 mg once daily), high-calorie diet, and relative physical inactivity.
Results: The 12-d intervention period resulted in significant increases in body weight [79 + or - 5 vs. 80 + or - 6 kg (mean + or - sd), P = 0.03] and fasting plasma glucose (5.1 + or - 0.1 vs. 5.6 + or - 0.2 mm, P = 0.016), whereas insulin sensitivity (Matsuda index 17.6 + or - 1.7 vs. 9.2 + or - 1.0, P = 0.0001) decreased. Glucose tolerance [as assessed by the 120-min plasma glucose value after OGTT (4.9 + or - 1.1 vs. 7.8 + or - 2.5 mm, P < 0.0001) and area under curve (AUC) (152 + or - 45 vs. 384 + or - 53 mm.4 h, P = 0.002)] during the OGTT deteriorated. Also, the incretin effect [incretin effect (percent) = 100% x (AUC(insulin,OGTT) - AUC(insulin,IIGI))/AUC(insulin,OGTT))] deteriorated (72 + or - 5 vs. 43 + or - 7%, P = 0.002). An increase in glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide response during OGTT, but no significant changes in glucagon-like peptide-1 or glucagon responses, was observed after glucose homeostatic dysregulation.
Conclusions/interpretation: Impairment of the incretin effect can be elicited by a short period of reduced glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in healthy male subjects not disposed for type 2 diabetes.