The basal plasma insulin and glucose concentrations of 12 diet-treated maturity-onset diabetics were measured at minute intervals for 2 h. Brief, irregular oscillations (mean period 8.8 min) in plasma insulin were superimposed on longer term fluctuations (> 30 min). Time series analysis demonstrated a synchronous plasma glucose oscillation (mean amplitude 0.03 mmol/L) associated with short insulin cycles. The glucose changes seen in diabetic subjects were similar to the short plasma insulin cycles (< 10 min) observed in normal subjects. In contrast, the longer plasma insulin cycles (> 10 min) of normal subjects were associated with a plasma glucose oscillation that rose before the end of the cycle. The demonstration of insulin oscillations independent of preceding plasma glucose changes in both normal and diabetic subjects suggests a pancreatic oscillating mechanism or “pacemaker.” The associated glucose changes may reflect the entrainment, by the insulin cycles, of glucose production or utilization.

This content is only available via PDF.