Closed-Loop Insulin Delivery for Adults with Type 1 Diabetes Undertaking High-Intensity Interval Exercise Versus Moderate-Intensity Exercise: A Randomized, Crossover Study

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2017 Jun;19(6):340-348. doi: 10.1089/dia.2016.0461. Epub 2017 Jun 2.


Background: We aimed to compare closed-loop glucose control for people with type 1 diabetes undertaking high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) versus moderate-intensity exercise (MIE).

Methods: Adults with type 1 diabetes established on insulin pumps undertook HIIE and MIE stages in random order during automated insulin delivery via a closed-loop system (Medtronic). Frequent venous sampling for glucose, lactate, ketones, insulin, catecholamines, cortisol, growth hormone, and glucagon levels was performed. The primary outcome was plasma glucose <4.0 mmol/L for ≥15 min, from exercise commencement to 120 min postexercise. Secondary outcomes included continuous glucose monitoring and biochemical parameters.

Results: Twelve adults (age mean ± standard deviation 40 ± 13 years) were recruited; all completed the study. Plasma glucose of one participant fell to 3.4 mmol/L following MIE completion; no glucose levels were <4.0 mmol/L for HIIE (primary outcome). There were no glucose excursions >15.0 mmol/L for either stage. Mean (±standard error) plasma glucose did not differ between stages pre-exercise; was higher during exercise in HIIE than MIE (11.3 ± 0.5 mmol/L vs. 9.7 ± 0.6 mmol/L, respectively; P < 0.001); and remained higher until 60 min postexercise. There were no differences in circulating free insulin before, during, or postexercise. During HIIE compared with MIE, there were greater increases in lactate (P < 0.001), catecholamines (all P < 0.05), and cortisol (P < 0.001). Ketones increased more with HIIE than MIE postexercise (P = 0.031).

Conclusions: Preliminary findings suggest that closed-loop glucose control is safe for people undertaking HIIE and MIE. However, the management of the postexercise rise in ketones secondary to counter-regulatory hormone-induced insulin resistance observed with HIIE may represent a challenge for closed-loop systems.

Keywords: Closed loop; Counter-regulation; Exercise; Hypoglycemia prevention; Metabolic control; Type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose
  • Combined Modality Therapy / adverse effects
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • High-Intensity Interval Training* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control*
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Ketone Bodies / blood
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas, Artificial* / adverse effects
  • Victoria


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Ketone Bodies
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Lactic Acid