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Open access

David P Sonne, Asger Lund, Jens Faber, Jens J Holst, Tina Vilsbøll and Filip K Knop

Bile acids are possible candidate agents in newly identified pathways through which energy expenditure may be regulated. Preclinical studies suggest that bile acids activate the enzyme type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase, which deiodinates thyroxine (T4) to the biologically active triiodothyronine (T3). We aimed to evaluate the influence of bile acid exposure and incretin hormones on thyroid function parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones (total T3 and free T4) were measured in plasma from two human studies: i) 75 g-oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and three isocaloric (500 kcal) and isovolaemic (350 ml) liquid meals with increasing fat content with concomitant ultrasonographic evaluation of gallbladder emptying in 15 patients with type 2 diabetes and 15 healthy age, gender and BMI-matched controls (meal-study) and ii) 50 g-OGTT and isoglycaemic intravenous glucose infusions (IIGI) alone or in combination with glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) and/or GLP2, in ten patients with type 2 diabetes (IIGI-study). In both studies, TSH levels declined (P<0.01) similarly following all meal and infusion stimuli. T3 and T4 concentrations did not change in response to any of the applied stimuli. TSH levels declined independently of the degree of gallbladder emptying (meal-study), route of nutrient administration and infusion of gut hormones. In conclusion, intestinal bile flow and i.v. infusions of the gut hormones, GIP, GLP1 and/or GLP2, do not seem to affect thyroid function parameters. Thus, the presence of a ‘gut–thyroid–pituitary’ axis seems questionable.

Open access

Annieke C G van Baar, Andrei Prodan, Camilla D Wahlgren, Steen S Poulsen, Filip K Knop, Albert K Groen, Jacques J Bergman, Max Nieuwdorp and Evgeni Levin

Background

Enteroendocrine cells are essential for the regulation of glucose metabolism, but it is unknown whether they are associated with clinical features of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and fasting plasma metabolites.

Objective

We aimed to identify fasting plasma metabolites that associate with duodenal L cell, K cell and delta cell densities in subjects with MetS with ranging levels of insulin resistance.

Research design and methods

In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated L, K and delta cell density in duodenal biopsies from treatment-naïve males with MetS using machine-learning methodology.

Results

We identified specific clinical biomarkers and plasma metabolites associated with L cell and delta cell density. L cell density was associated with increased plasma metabolite levels including symmetrical dimethylarginine, 3-aminoisobutyric acid, kynurenine and glycine. In turn, these L cell-linked fasting plasma metabolites correlated with clinical features of MetS.

Conclusions

Our results indicate a link between duodenal L cells, plasma metabolites and clinical characteristics of MetS. We conclude that duodenal L cells associate with plasma metabolites that have been implicated in human glucose metabolism homeostasis. Disentangling the causal relation between L cells and these metabolites might help to improve the (small intestinal-driven) pathophysiology behind insulin resistance in human obesity.

Open access

Amalie R Lanng, Lærke S Gasbjerg, Natasha C Bergmann, Sigrid Bergmann, Mads M Helsted, Matthew P Gillum, Bolette Hartmann, Jens J Holst, Tina Vilsbøll and Filip K Knop

Background

Ingestion of the calorically dense compound alcohol may cause metabolic disturbances including hypoglycaemia, hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance, but the underlying mechanisms are uncertain. The gastrointestinal tract is well recognised as a major influencer on glucose, protein and lipid metabolism, but its role in alcohol metabolism remains unclear.

Objective

To examine the effects of oral and intravenous alcohol, respectively, on plasma concentrations of several gluco-regulatory hormones including serum/plasma insulin, C-peptide, glucagon, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21).

Design and methods

In a double-blinded, randomised, crossover design, we subjected 12 healthy men to intragastric ethanol infusion (IGEI) and an isoethanolaemic intravenous ethanol infusion (IVEI) (0.7 g alcohol per kg body weight), respectively, on two separate experimental days.

Results

Isoethanolaemia during the two alcohol administration forms was obtained (P = 0.38). During both interventions, plasma glucose peaked after ~30 min and thereafter fell below baseline concentrations. GIP and GLP-1 concentrations were unaffected by the two interventions. Insulin concentrations were unaffected by IGEI but decreased during IVEI. C-peptide, insulin secretion rate and glucagon concentrations were lowered similarly during IGEI and IVEI. FGF21 concentrations increased dramatically (nine-fold) and similarly during IGEI and IVEI.

Conclusions

Alcohol does not seem to affect the secretion of incretin hormones but decreased insulin and glucagon secretion independently of gut-derived factors. IGEI as well as IVEI potently stimulate FGF21 secretion indicating a gut-independent effect of alcohol on FGF21 secretion in humans.