The clinical and hormonal (C-peptide and glucagon) profile and liability to ketoacidosis during nutritional rehabilitation in Ethiopian patients with malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus

Diabetologia. 1990 Apr;33(4):222-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00404800.


Cases of malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus conforming to the description of the protein deficient pancreatic diabetes type in Ethiopian patients were compared with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) and Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic. Fourteen of 39 malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus patients had fat malabsorption compared with only two of ten Type 1 diabetic patients and one of nine control subjects. Xylose absorption was normal favouring a pancreatic cause for the malabsorption. Plasma C-peptide during oral glucose tolerance test was significantly lower than that in Type 2 diabetic patients and normal control subjects (p less than 0.01 to 0.001) and was also consistently but not significantly higher than in Type 1 diabetic patients. Glucagon secretion patterns were similar in malnutrition-related and Type 1 diabetic patients. Of 23 new malnutrition-related diabetic patients treated with glibenclamide after nutritional rehabilitation and insulin treatment, only three responded, 14 were unresponsive but remained ketosis free for over eight days while another six developed ketoacidosis or significant ketonuria within two to six days during the trial. Sixteen unselected Type 1 diabetic patients who discontinued their insulin therapy all developed frank ketoacidosis after a mean of 5.5 days. The similarity of the malnutrition-related and Type 1 diabetes mellitus in age of onset, insulin requirement for diabetic control and appearance of ketosis-proneness in some cases, together with the similarity of C-peptide and glucagon secretion patterns suggest that the protein deficient pancreatic diabetes variant of malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus may be Type 1 diabetes mellitus modified by the background of malnutrition rather than an aetiologically separate entity.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • C-Peptide / blood*
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / blood
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / etiology*
  • Ethiopia
  • Female
  • Glucagon / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / blood
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / complications*
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / therapy
  • Reference Values


  • C-Peptide
  • Glucagon