Relatives of type 1 diabetic patients are at enhanced risk of developing diabetes. We investigated the mode of onset of hyperglycemia and how insulin sensitivity and β-cell function contribute to the progression to the disease.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
In 328 islet cell autoantibody–positive, nondiabetic relatives from the observational arms of the Diabetes Prevention Trial-1 Study (median age 11 years [interquartile range 8], sequential OGTTs (2,143 in total) were performed at baseline, every 6 months, and 2.7 years [2.7] later, when 115 subjects became diabetic. β-Cell glucose sensitivity (slope of the insulin-secretion/plasma glucose dose-response function) and insulin sensitivity were obtained by mathematical modeling of the OGTT glucose/C-peptide responses.
In progressors, baseline insulin sensitivity, fasting insulin secretion, and total postglucose insulin output were similar to those of nonprogressors, whereas β-cell glucose sensitivity was impaired (median 48 pmol/min per m2 per mmol/l [interquartile range 36] vs. 87 pmol/min per m2 per mmol/l ; P < 0.0001) and predicted incident diabetes (P < 0.0001) independently of sex, age, BMI, and clinical risk. In progressors, 2-h glucose levels changed little until 0.78 years before diagnosis, when they started to rise rapidly (∼13 mmol · l−1 · year−1); glucose sensitivity began to decline significantly (P < 0.0001) earlier (1.45 years before diagnosis) than the plasma glucose surge. During this anticipation phase, both insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity were essentially stable.
In high-risk relatives, β-cell glucose sensitivity is impaired and is a strong predictor of diabetes progression. The time trajectories of plasma glucose are frequently biphasic, with a slow linear increase followed by a rapid surge, and are anticipated by a further deterioration of β-cell glucose sensitivity.