There is evidence from animal models of obesity and type 2 diabetes that increased parasympathetic vagal input to the pancreas contributes to hyperinsulinemia. Compared with Caucasians, Pima Indians have a high risk of type 2 diabetes and exhibit marked hyperinsulinemia and elevated plasma levels of pancreatic polypeptide (PP), an islet hormone considered a surrogate marker of parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) drive to the pancreas. To test if hyperinsulinemia in Pima Indians is due to increased vagal input to the β-cell, we examined the effect of PNS blockade in 17 Caucasian (aged 35 ± 8 years, body fat 23 ± 7% [mean ± SD]) and 17 Pima Indian males (aged 28 ± 8 years, body fat 29 ± 5%) with normal glucose tolerance. Each participant underwent four consecutive standardized liquid meal tests (64% carbohydrate, 22% fat, and 14% protein) during which a primed infusion of atropine was administered for 120 min at the following doses: 0, 2.5, 5, and 10 μg · kg fat-free mass (FFM)-1 · h-1. Areas under the curve for early (AUC0-30 min) and total (AUC0-120 min) post prandial insulin and PP secretory responses were calculated. Early postprandial insulin and PP secretory responses were higher in Pima Indians compared with those of Caucasians (both P = 0.01). Secretion of insulin and PP was inhibited by atropine (both P < 0.001). Increasing doses of atropine attenuated the ethnic difference in PP (P = 0.01) but not in early insulin secretory responses (P = 0.6), an effect that was not due to differences in gastric emptying rate (acetaminophen test) and/or circulating glucose. Similar results were observed for total secretory responses. These results confirm that compared with Caucasians, Pima Indians have an exaggerated PNS drive to pancreatic F-cells that secrete PP. However, the hyperinsulinemia of this population does not appear to be due to increased vagal input to pancreatic β-cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism