12 identical twin pairs discordant for non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) were studied for insulin sensitivity (euglycemic insulin clamp, 40 mU/m2 per min), hepatic glucose production (HGP, [3-3H]glucose infusion), and insulin secretion (oral glucose tolerance test and hyperglycemic [12 mM] clamp, including glucagon administration). Five of the nondiabetic twins had normal and seven had impaired glucose tolerance. 13 matched, healthy subjects without a family history of diabetes were included as control subjects. The NIDDM twins were more obese compared with their non-diabetic co-twins. The nondiabetic twins were insulin resistant and had a delayed insulin and C-peptide response during oral glucose tolerance tests compared with controls. Furthermore, the nondiabetic twins had a decreased first-phase insulin response and a decreased maximal insulin secretion capacity during hyperglycemic clamping and intravenous glucagon administration. Nondiabetic twins and controls had similar rates of HGP. Compared with both nondiabetic twins and controls, the NIDDM twins had an elevated basal rate of HGP, a further decreased insulin sensitivity, and a further impaired insulin secretion pattern as determined by all tests. In conclusion, defects of both in vivo insulin secretion and insulin action are present in non- and possibly prediabetic twins who possess the necessary NIDDM susceptibility genes. However, all defects of both insulin secretion and glucose metabolism are expressed quantitatively more severely in their identical co-twins with overt NIDDM.
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