Author(s): Gougeon R, Pencharz PB, Sigal RJ
We postulated whether interventions capable of restoring euglycemia would correct whole-body protein metabolism, shown previously to be elevated in hyperglycemic persons with non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM). The kinetics of protein metabolism were estimated in obese subjects with NIDDM in the hyper- and normoglycemic states during isoenergetic feeding and in the normoglycemic state induced by 4 wk of a very-low-energy diet (VLED) with constant protein intake. Seven NIDDM subjects [three males and four females with a body mass index (in kg/m2) of 39 +/- 2] were given a weight-maintaining, liquid formula providing 95 g protein/d for 15 d, followed in six subjects (two males and four females) for 27 d by a diet providing 1.7 MJ, 93 g protein derived from casein-soy, 13 g carbohydrate, 2 g fat, multivitamins and minerals, and a potassium bicarbonate supplement (32 mmol) per day. Exogenous insulin was given to achieve normoglycemia during the first 8 d of isoenergetic feeding. On days 6-8, 12-14, and 25-27, nitrogen flux rate was calculated from the urine [15N]urea enrichment by using the 60-h oral [15N]glycine method to obtain "integrated" feeding and fasting values. Rates of synthesis and breakdown were calculated from nitrogen flux. During isoenergetic feeding, normoglycemia was associated with more positive nitrogen balance (2.6 +/- 0.5 compared with -0.6 +/- 0.6 g N/d, P < 0.05); 18-23% lower nitrogen flux, and synthesis and breakdown rates (P < 0.05), and a 3% decrease in resting energy expenditure (P < 0.05). During the VLED, euglycemia was achieved but nitrogen balance, although it became less negative with time, never reached equilibrium. This was associated with significant (P < 0.05) decreases in the synthesis rate, resulting in net protein losses. Thus, the altered protein metabolism in moderately hyperglycemic NIDDM subjects was improved with exogenous insulin in doses sufficient to restore normoglycemia in the isoenergetic fed state, but it remained abnormal with a reduced non-protein energy intake. This suggests that protein metabolism is more sensitive to insulinization than was thought previously.