The metabolism of myoinositol has been studied in 10 nondiabetic subjects and in six patients with diabetes mellitus before and after insulin therapy. While dietary myoinositol intake and fecal myoinositol excretion were similar in both groups, urinary myoinositol excretion was increased 10-fold in the untreated diabetic and accounted for a significant fraction of his dietary myoinositol intake. Insulin treatment restored the urinary myoinositol excretion toward normal. Despite increased myoinositol excretion, plasma myoinositol concentrations were significantly higher in the diabetics following the ingestion of a standard diet or of a 3.0-gm. myoinositol load. This abnormality in oral myoinositol tolerance was also corrected by insulin treatment. The size of the rapidly equilibrating myoinositol pool was significantly decreased in the untreated diabetic and returned to normal following a brief period of insulin treatment.

The elevated plasma myoinositol concentrations observed following myoinositol ingestion in the uncontrolled diabetic presumably represents a combination of enhanced gastrointestinal absorption and impaired intracelhilar transport of myoinositol. The decreased space of distribution of myoinositol also suggests an impairment of intracellular myoinositol transport in the untreated diabetic. These observations are consistent with the speculation that hyperglycemia may condition a widespread relative intracellular myoinositol deficiency in man and suggest that restoration of normal intracellular myoinositol concentrations might prove to be of benefit in the prevention and treatment of certain of the complications associated with human diabetes mellitus.

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