Reduced serum dehydroepiandrosterone levels in diabetic patients with hyperinsulinaemia

Author(s): Yamaguchi Y, Tanaka S, Yamakawa T, Kimura M, Ukawa K, et al.


Objective: To elucidate the interaction between insulin and dehydroepi-androsterone (DHEA) concentrations, we evaluated serum DHEA and DHEA-sulphate (DHEA-S) levels in diabetic patients with hyperinsulinaemia.

Patients and design: Twenty-four subjects with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, 12 hyperinsulinaemic subjects (fasting serum insulin concentrations > or = 10 mU/ml (71.8 pmol/l)) and 12 non-hyperinsulinaemic subjects, and 10 normal control subjects were studied. Serum DHEA, DHEA-S, cortisol and ACTH levels were investigated in these subjects. Moreover, their serum DHEA levels were compared during hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp and after ACTH stimulation.

Measurements: Serum insulin, cortisol, ACTH, DHEA and DHEA-S concentrations were evaluated by RIA. Serum glucose was determined by the glucose oxidase method.

Results: Diabetic patients with hyperinsulinaemia showed significantly lower levels of serum DHEA and DHEA-S than controls. After ACTH stimulation, these patients also showed significantly lower DHEA levels. During the hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp, serum DHEA concentrations of diabetic patients with hyperinsulinaemia remained low and did not decline further, although those of control subjects and non-hyperinsulinaemic diabetic patients showed a significant decline of serum DHEA levels. Even after ACTH stimulation during the clamp, serum DHEA in hyperinsulinaemic patients was still significantly lower than in controls.

Conclusions: In diabetic patients with hyperinsulinaemia, baseline DHEA levels are chronically and maximally suppressed compared to control subjects and non-hyperinsulinaemic diabetic patients, and thus not decreased further by exogenous insulin infusion during hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp.

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