The main purpose of this work was to study the possible differences in insulin secretion in a large group of type 2 diabetic patients in relation to diabetes duration, obesity, and the presence of secondary failure after treatment with oral hypoglycemic agents.


There were 147 nonobese and 215 obese type 2 diabetic subjects, aged 35–80 years, investigated in a cross-sectional descriptive study. Subjects were grouped according to whether glycemic control was good (mean blood glucose <8.5 mmol/l) or poor. β-Cell function was assessed by measuring meal-stimulated insulin and C-peptide concentrations, as the mean of the three postprandial increments above the premeal value.


Basal C-peptide concentrations were significantly higher in obese than nonobese patients of both groups. The mean of meal-stimulated C-peptide concentrations was also significantly higher in obese than nonobese patients with good glycemic control, but not in the secondary failure groups. In nonobese and obese patients considered separately, a significant negative correlation between the mean of daily blood glucose and meal-stimulated C-peptide was observed (r = −0.705 and r = −0.679, respectively, P < 0.001) and the residual β-cell function was significantly correlated with the known duration of diabetes and metabolic control, but not with BMI, in both groups.


On average, obese diabetic subjects showed higher meal-stimulated Cpeptide than nonobese subjects only in well-controlled groups. In both obese and nonobese patients, an inverse association between meal-stimulated insulin secretion and duration of diabetes was observed. In obese patients, as in nonobese patients, the lower β-cell function seems likely to be the major pathogenetic factor in the appearance of secondary failure, while being overweight plays only a minor role, thus showing that type 2 diabetes is the same disease in obese and nonobese patients.

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