Recent research indicates that islet amyloid pancreatic polypeptide (IAPP) might have a regulatory effect on (β-cell insulin processing and secretion. To study such interaction in more detail, IAPP secretion and kinetics and the serum concentrations of proinsulin were assessed both before and after delivery in lean pregnant women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM patients) in comparison to those with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) and to nonpregnant healthy lean (control) and obese insulin-resistant women during oral glucose tolerance tests. Kinetic analysis of IAPP was performed with mathematical modeling, providing indirect estimates of its secretion and fractional clearance. Total insulin secretion per 180 min was elevated by 30% in GDM patients (35 ± 3 pmol/1) versus control subjects (27 ± 1 pmol/1) (P < 0.05), but increased even more (190–250%) in obese insulin-resistant women, compared with all other groups (68 ± 7 pmol/l, P < 0.0005). Pregnancy induced a more marked fourfold increase in apparent total IAPP secretion rate (TIR) (GDM patients, 172 ± 31 pmol · 1−1 · 3 h−1; NGT subjects, 166 ± 31 pmol · 1−1 · 3 h−1; control subjects, 40 ± 1 pmol · 1−1 · 3 h−1) and a twofold rise in its fractional clearance versus control subjects (P < 0.01), whereas in GDM patients a 30% increase of IAPP secretion and a decreased clearance was found, compared with obese insulin-resistant women (TIR, 112 ± 14 pmol · 1−1 · 3 h−1). The increase in IAPP secretion in both pregnant groups was much higher than that of the insulin groups, resulting in a marked change of the IAPP-insulin cosecretion factor when compared with lean or obese nonpregnant women (P < 0.0005). Associated serum proinsulin and the postprandial (total divided by 180 min) proinsulinto-insulin ratio were greater in GDM patients versus NGT and control subjects (0.11 ± 0.01 vs. 0.07 ± 0.01 and 0.08 ± 0.01 pmol/1, P < 0.05), while the fasting proinsulin-to-insulin ratio was only increased in GDM patients versus control subjects (0.22 ± 0.03 vs. 0.13 ± 0.01 pmol/l, P < 0.05). After delivery, total IAPP secretion (52.4 ± 1.5 pmol/l) was completely normalized in the GDM group, as were the clearance rate and the IAPP-insulin cosecretion factor. Similarly, serum proinsulin concentrations returned to normal, whereas proinsulin-to-insulin ratios remained elevated. In conclusion, IAPP hypersecretion is characteristic for pregnancy and might partially decrease hyperinsulinemia in pregnancy by inhibiting insulin secretion. Increased proinsulin concentrations and a raised proinsulin-toinsulin ratio, which did not abate following delivery, are specific to GDM and might thus serve as its marker and potentially even identify subjects at high risk for the development of NIDDM.

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