Long-term changes in carbohydrate tolerance, insulin secretion and action in African-American patients with obesity and history of hyperglycemic crises

BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2020 May;8(1):e001062. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2019-001062.


Introduction: Many African-Americans (AA) with obesity with newly diagnosed diabetes presenting with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or severe hyperglycemia (SH) discontinue insulin therapy and achieve near-normoglycemia remission (hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) <7%, fasting blood glucose (FBG) <130 mg/dL) and able to be managed on oral antidiabetic agents (OAD) during follow-up. Using combined data from two randomized controlled trials, we assessed long-term carbohydrate tolerance and changes in insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion.

Research design and methods: Seventy-five participants with DKA (n=33) and SH (n=42) underwent 2-hour 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) after insulin discontinuation and every 6 months until hyperglycemia relapse (FBG ≥130 mg/dL, HbA1c >7% or two random BG ≥180 mg/dL) while treated with OAD (metformin, sitagliptin or pioglitazone) or placebo. Glucose tolerance status was defined as per the American Diabetes Association. Sensitivity index (Si) was calculated by oral minimal model, insulin secretion as the incremental area under the curve of insulin (IncreAUCi) and disposition index (DI) as Si×IncreAUCi.

Results: During remission, OGTT showed normal glucose tolerance (NGT) (n=9 (12%)), prediabetes (n=34 (45%)) and diabetes (n=32 (43%)). DI and Si were higher in patients with NGT versus prediabetes versus diabetes (p<0.001), while IncreAUCi was not significantly different among NGT, prediabetes and diabetes (p=0.14). Achieving NGT status did not prolong near-normoglycemia remission. OAD treatment significantly prolonged hyperglycemia relapse-free survival (log-rank p=0.0012) compared with placebo and was associated with lower hyperglycemia relapse (HR: 0.45, 95% CI: (0.21 to 0.96), p=0.04).

Conclusions: In AA patients with obesity with history of DKA and SH, near-normoglycemia remission is associated with improved insulin secretion and action with half of patients achieving NGT or prediabetes, and only half having diabetes on OGTT. NGT and prediabetes on OGTT were not associated with prolonged hyperglycemia relapse-free survival.

Trial registration number: NCT01099618, NCT00426413.

Keywords: antidiabetic drugs; insulin action; insulin secretion; ketoacidosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • African Americans*
  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / drug therapy


  • Blood Glucose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00426413
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01099618