In mild glucose intolerance plasma concentration of C-peptide seems to give an estimate of pancreatic B cell secretion more reliable than plasma insulin itself. In the present study we measured the plasma levels of insulin and C-peptide after oral glucose load in 100 mildly glucose intolerant subjects, focusing our attention on high and low insulin responders. According to an insulin incremental area after oral glucose higher or lower than the mean +/- SD of the mean, 16 subjects were classified as "high insulin responders", and 17 as "low insulin responders". The two groups were similar for sex, age and bw. Mean insulin incremental area was almost 9-fold greater in high insulin responders than in low insulin responders (0.88 +/- 0.03 vs 0.10 +/- 0.01 pmol/ml min, p less than 0.001). Also mean C-peptide incremental area was significantly greater in high insulin responders than in low insulin responders, but the differences between the two groups were smaller. Indeed, mean C-peptide area was approximately 2.5-fold greater in high insulin responders than in low insulin responders (1.58 +/- 0.12 vs 0.66 +/- 0.07 pmol/ml min, p less than 0.001). These results give further support to the concept that in mild glucose intolerance insulin metabolism is a major determinant of peripheral insulin response to oral glucose load.
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