Clinical Phenotypes, Insulin Secretion, and Insulin Sensitivity in Kindreds With Maternally Inherited Diabetes and Deafness Due to Mitochondrial tRNALeu(UUR) Gene Mutation
An A-to-G transition in the mitochondrial tRNALeu(UUR) gene at base pair 3243 has been shown to be associated with the maternally transmitted clinical phenotype of NIDDM and sensorineural hearing loss in white and Japanese pedigrees. We have detected this mutation in 25 of 50 tested members of five white French pedigrees. Affected (mutation-positive) family members presented variable clinical features, ranging from normal glucose tolerance (NGT) to insulin-requiring diabetes. The present report describes the clinical phenotypes of affected members and detailed evaluations of insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity in seven mutation-positive individuals who have a range of glucose tolerance from normal (n = 3) to impaired (n = 1) to NIDDM (n = 3). Insulin secretion was evaluated during two experimental protocols: the first involved the measurement of insulin secretory responses during intravenous glucose tolerance test, hyperglycemic clamp, and intravenous injection of arginine. The second consisted of the administration of graded and oscillatory infusions of glucose and studies to define C-peptide kinetics. This protocol was aimed at assessing two sensitive measures of beta-cell dysfunction: the priming effect of glucose on the glucose-insulin secretion rate (ISR) dose-response curve and the ability of oscillatory glucose infusion to entrain insulin secretory oscillations. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. Evaluation of insulin secretion demonstrated a large degree of between- and within-subject variability. However, all subjects, including those with NGT, demonstrated abnormal insulin secretion on at least one of the tests. In the four subjects with normal or impaired glucose tolerance, glucose failed to prime the ISR response, entrainment of ultradian insulin secretory oscillations was abnormal, or both defects were present. The response to arginine was always preserved, including in subjects with NIDDM. Insulin resistance was observed only in the subjects with overt diabetes. In conclusion, the pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for the development of NIDDM and insulin-requiring diabetes in this syndrome are complex and might include defects in insulin production, glucose toxicity, and insulin resistance. However, our data suggest that a defect of glucose-regulated insulin secretion is an early possible primary abnormality in carriers of the mutation. This defect might result from the progressive reduction of oxidative phosphorylation and implicate the glucose-sensing mechanism of beta-cells.
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