Disproportionate elevation of immunoreactive proinsulin in type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus and in experimental insulin resistance.

Ward, W K; LaCava, E C; Paquette, T L; Beard, J C; Wallum, B J; Porte, D
Diabetologia; 1987 Sep;30(9):698-702. PMID: 3322910
Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.


In this study, we found that the ratio of proinsulin to total immunoreactive insulin was much higher in 22 patients with Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus than in 28 non-diabetic control subjects of similar age and adiposity (32 +/- 3 vs 15 +/- 1%, p less than 0.001). In addition, the arginine-induced acute proinsulin response to total immunoreactive insulin response ratio was greater in diabetic patients (n = 10) than in control subjects (n = 9) (8 +/- 2 vs 2 +/- 0.5%, p = 0.009), suggesting that increased islet secretion per se accounted for the increased ratio of proinsulin to immunoreactive insulin. One explanation for these findings is that increased demand for insulin in the presence of islet dysfunction leads to a greater proportion of proinsulin secreted from the B cell. We tested this hypothesis by comparing proinsulin secretion before and during dexamethasone-induced insulin resistance in diabetic patients and control subjects. Dexamethasone treatment (6 mg/day for 3 days) raised the proinsulin to immunoreactive insulin ratio in control subjects from 13 +/- 2 to 21 +/- 2% (p less than 0.0001) and in diabetic patients from 29 +/- 5 to 52 +/- 7% (p less than 0.001). Dexamethasone also raised the ratio of the acute proinsulin response to the acute immunoreactive insulin response in control subjects from 2 +/- 0.5 to 5 +/- 2% (p = 0.01) and in diabetic patients from 8 +/- 2 to 14 +/- 4% (p = NS), suggesting that the dexamethasone-induced increment in the basal ratio of proinsulin to immunoreactive insulin was also due to increased secretion.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)