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January 1971

Insulin, Glucose, Growth Hormone, and Free Fatty Acids: Determinations in Patients With Cystic Fibrosis

Author Affiliations

From the departments of pediatrics (Drs. Milunsky and Loridan) and endocrinology (Drs. Bray and Londono), Tufts-New England Medical Center, and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.

Am J Dis Child. 1971;121(1):15-19. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1971.02100120051004

Oral glucose tolerance tests were done on 15 patients with cystic fibrosis, and 28 normal controls. The cystic fibrosis patients had significant insulinopenia, raised mean values for blood glucose and growth hormone, but similar levels of free fatty acids, in contrast to the normal controls with and without family histories of diabetes mellitus. No relationship was noted between insulinopenia and glucose tolerance. The available evidence suggests that the insulinopenia is due to impaired immunoreactive insulin release, which may be related to the architectural disorganization of the pancreatic islet cells or to a defective intestinal insulin secretory mechanism. Additional operative factors which may contribute to the development of insulinopenia include genetic prediabetes and malnutrition. The elevated growth hormone levels in the patients with cystic fibrosis may be related to genetic prediabetes, chronic stress, and chronic protein depletion.

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