β-cell impairment and clinically meaningful alterations in glycemia in obese youth across the glucose tolerance spectrum

Metabolism. 2020 Aug 22;112:154346. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2020.154346. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background/aims: In obese youth, it is not clear what degree of β-cell impairment translates to glucose dysregulation commensurate with shifts from normal glucose tolerance (NGT) to impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) to type 2 diabetes. We aimed to investigate the quantitative relationship between β-cell (clamp-measured disposition index [DI]) and OGTT glucose area under the curve (G-AUC) in obese youth across the spectrum of glucose tolerance.

Methods: Data from 152 youth (58 African-American [AA] and 94 American-White [AW]; 73 NGT, 48 IGT, and 31 type 2 diabetes) who completed a 3-h hyperinsulinemic (80 mu/m2/min)-euglycemic clamp, and a 2-h hyperglycemic (225 mg/dL) clamp synchronized with a 2-h OGTT were examined.

Results: In IGT vs. NGT, 36% lower DI corresponded to 27% higher G-AUC; in type 2 diabetes vs. IGT, 65% lower DI related to 25% higher G-AUC, and in type 2 diabetes vs. NGT, 78% lower DI paralleled 59% higher G-AUC. Although AA vs. AW youth had larger decrements in DI, from NGT to IGT and from NGT to type 2 diabetes, they displayed comparable increments in G-AUC.

Conclusion: At least ~35-50% recovery in β-cell function might be needed to have clinically meaningful improvement in G-AUC commensurate with conversion to better glucose tolerance. Mechanism(s) protective against dysglycemia might be operative in AA vs. AW youth despite greater declines in DI. Treatments aiming to improve β-cell function should focus on degree of change in DI commensurate with clinically meaningful changes in glycemia, reflective of restoration of glucose tolerance.

Keywords: Clamp; Glucose area under the curve; Glucose tolerance; OGTT; Youth; β-cell function.