Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Metabolic abnormalities in children of non-insulin dependent diabetics.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 04 October 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:840
  1. R D Leslie,
  2. H P Volkmann,
  3. M Poncher,
  4. I Hanning,
  5. H Orskov,
  6. K G Alberti


    Non-insulin dependent diabetes appears to be an inherited condition. A study of young offspring of non-insulin dependent diabetics was conducted to determine whether metabolic abnormalities could be found at a young age before clinical diabetes developed. Thirteen patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes were selected who fulfilled the following criteria: they had a sibling who also had non-insulin dependent diabetes, their spouse was non-diabetic, and the offspring were aged between 12 and 45 years, not diabetic, and available for study. All 32 offspring had a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test, and results in 13 of them, one randomly selected from each family, were compared with 13 controls of similar age, sex, and weight. The offspring had significantly higher fasting concentrations of glucose, higher proportions of haemoglobin A1, and higher concentrations of insulin, C peptide, and glucagon. After glucose challenge the increases in both glucose and C peptide concentrations were significantly greater in the offspring. These differences were maintained in all 32 offspring when compared with 18 controls of similar age, sex, and weight; seven of the 32 offspring had impaired glucose tolerance. These results indicate that young offspring of selected non-insulin dependent diabetics can show extensive metabolic changes including impaired glucose tolerance. These changes are associated with hyperinsulinaemia and hyperglucagonaemia.