Renal substrate exchange was examined in five male patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus of several years' duration. Insulin was withheld for twenty-four hours prior to the study. A renal vein was catheterized from the femoral vein, and PAHclearance was employed for the determination of effective renal blood flow.
None of the patients was in ketoacidosis, but all were moderately hyperglycemic in the fasting state (16.8±1.5 mmol/L.) (225-384 mg./100 ml.). Nevertheless, no net release of glucose from the kidney was detectable. Instead, there was a significant net renal uptake of glucose (320±80 μmol/min.). In addition, there was a significant net uptake of glycerol and a net release of pyruvate. Renal amino acid exchange was similar to that reported for healthy subjects: glutamine, glycine, proline, and citrulline were taken up and serine, alanine, cystine, tyrosine, and threonine were released by the kidney.
It is concluded that (a) in nonketoacidotic diabetics there is no net production of glucose by the kidney; (b) renal amino acid exchange in diabetics is similar to that of healthy individuals; and (c) the kidney is not an important gluconeogenic organ in human diabetes.