Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients demonstrate a spectrum of pancreatic β-cell abnormalities. Those with no exocrine insufficiency (NEXO) have normal insulin secretion. Exocrine-insufficient CF patients with overt diabetes (EXO-IT) have impaired insulin secretion and fasting hyperglycemia. Exocrine-insufficient patients without diabetes (EXO) have impaired insulin secretion but maintain normoglycemia. We postulated that EXO individuals compensate for insulin deficiency by increasing insulin sensitivity and investigated glucose utilization in CF. To examine hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity, euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp studies were performed by using the hot GINF isotope dilution technique. Insulin was sequentially infused at 0.25, 1.0, and 10.0 mU · kg−1 · min−1. Glucose-mediated glucose uptake (GMGU) was assessed on another day with hyperglycemic clamp studies, during which insulin and somatostatin were infused to hold insulin-mediated glucose uptake constant between the two clamp studies. Skeletal muscle GLUT4 levels were assessed in EXO and control patients with Western blotting. Three patterns of peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity were seen that were related to the degree of pancreatic β-cell dysfunction. NEXO individuals had normal peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity. EXO individuals had enhanced peripheral insulin sensitivity that was not associated with a change in skeletal muscle glucose transporter abundance compared with control patients; paradoxically, EXO subjects demonstrated hepatic insulin resistance. EXO-IT had peripheral and hepatic insulin resistance. GMGU was diminished in both EXO and EXO-IT subjects. The unique combination of increased hepatic glucose production and increased peripheral glucose utilization seen in EXO may be a metabolic adaptation to increased peripheral energy needs. Increased glucose utilization is not attributable to a change in skeletal muscle GLUT4 or glycogen levels. Insulin resistance in CF patients with overt diabetes may be related to severe hyperglycemia secondary to impairment of insulin secretion.

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