Minimal chronic hyperglycemia is a critical determinant of impaired insulin secretion after an incomplete pancreatectomy

J Clin Invest. 1988 May;81(5):1407-14. doi: 10.1172/JCI113470.


We now describe experiments that allow one to determine the consequences of B cell reduction alone vs. those that result from superimposed mild hyperglycemia. Male CD rats underwent a 60% pancreatectomy (Px); controls were sham operated. 1 wk later, either 10% sucrose (SUC) was substituted as fluid supply or tap water was continued (WAT). Plasma glucose and insulin values in Px-WAT remained equal to the sham groups; in Px-SUC the values were euglycemic for 25 d, but then nonfasting plasma glucose rose 15 mg/dl. After 6 wk, B cell mass in Px-WAT was reduced by 45% and non-B cell mass by 57%. In contrast, in Px-SUC both masses were comparable to the sham groups. The insulin response to 27.7 mM glucose was measured using the in vitro perfused pancreas. The responses were reduced in Px-WAT but in proportion to their reduced B cell mass; in contrast, it was 75% less than expected in Px-SUC. Also, the response to arginine given at 16.7 mM glucose was reduced only in Px-SUC. These results show that a lowering of B cell mass that does not result in hyperglycemia has no adverse effect on the remaining B cells. On the other hand, if even mild hyperglycemia develops, B cell function becomes impaired and results in inappropriately reduced insulin stores and insulin responses to marked stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Chronic Disease
  • Drinking
  • Hyperglycemia / etiology
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology*
  • Insulin / analysis
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / analysis
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Pancreatectomy / adverse effects*
  • Rats


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin