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Effects of Obesity, Glucocorticoid, and Oral Contraceptive Therapy on Plasma Glucose and Blood Pyruvate Levels

Br Med J 1970; 1 doi: (Published 17 January 1970) Cite this as: Br Med J 1970;1:149
  1. J. W. H. Doar,
  2. Victor Wynn


    The plasma glucose and blood pyruvate levels were determined after oral glucose tolerance test in six groups of women: non-obese and obese controls and in non-obese and obese women receiving glucocorticoid or oral contraceptive therapy. The mean fasting plasma glucose level was similar in all groups, but glucose tolerance was impaired in the obese controls, non-obese women on oral contraceptives or being treated with glucocorticoids, and appreciably impaired in the obese oral contraceptive and glucocorticoid groups compared with mean levels in non-obese subjects of the same groups. Obesity was associated with abnormally raised blood pyruvate levels in response to a glucose tolerance test in all groups. Striking similarities were observed between the responses of the plasma glucose and blood pyruvate levels to glucose tolerance tests in the obese control and non-obese oral contraceptive and non-obese glucocorticoid-treated groups. It is suggested that these abnormalities result from a common mechanism—namely, glucocorticoid excess.