Both glucose and insulin are important regulators of glucose uptake and hepatic glucose release. Because insulin concentrations rarely if ever increase under daily living conditions, unless glucose concentrations also increase, we sought to determine whether hepatic and extrahepatic responses to changes in insulin and glucose concentration are impaired in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). To address this question, glucose metabolism was measured in diabetic and nondiabetic subjects. A computer-driven infusion system was used to produce a nondiabetic postprandial insulin profile in both groups while sufficient exogenous glucose was infused to mimic nondiabetic postprandial glucose concentrations. Although NIDDM was associated with greater (P < 0.05) hepatic glucose release both before and during the prandial insulin infusion, suppression did not differ in the diabetic and nondiabetic subjects (−1.06 ± 0.20 vs. −0.86 ± 0.15 mmol/kg every 4 h). In contrast, stimulation of both glucose disappearance (0.77 ± 0.27 vs. 1.68 ± 0.27 mmol/kg every 4 h) and forearm glucose uptake (187 ± 81 vs. 550 ± 149 μmol/dl every 4 h) was lower (P < 0.05) in diabetic than in nondiabetic subjects. Thus, despite increased basal rates of glucose production, obese individuals with NIDDM had decreased stimulation of glucose disappearance but normal suppression of hepatic glucose release in response to nondiabetic prandial glucose and insulin concentrations. These data indicate that the increase in glucose that occurs with carbohydrate ingestion is likely to compensate for hepatic but not extrahepatic insulin resistance.

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