The 13C/12C ratio in most commercial preparations of glucose used in clinical investigation is much higher than that of expired air. Variations in expired air 13C, after glucose load, are indicative of the catabolism of this exogenous glucose. The changes in the 13C/12C ratio of CO2 in expired air after oral administration of glucose were determined by mass spectrometry. Results in eleven healthy volunteers and seven obese subjects with normal oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) are reported. In all cases, the administration of glucose resulted in a marked rise in the 13C/12C ratio of expired CO2, reaching its maximum at the fourth hour and then declining progressively. In seven obese patients with chemical diabetes and in five insulin-dependent diabetics, the 13C/12C ratio of expired CO2 during OGTT was significantly reduced, in comparison with the results obtained from the control groups. This study demonstrates the potential of this procedure using “naturally labeled” 13C glucose for the metabolic studies in man as anticipated from previous studies of Duchesne and his coworkers.

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