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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

Nicolai J Wewer Albrechtsen, Monika J Bak, Bolette Hartmann, Louise Wulff Christensen, Rune E Kuhre, Carolyn F Deacon and Jens J Holst

To investigate the stability of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucagon in plasma under short- and long-term storage conditions. Pooled human plasma (n=20), to which a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) inhibitor and aprotinin were added, was spiked with synthetic GLP-1 (intact, 7–36NH2 as well as the primary metabolite, GLP-1 9–36NH2) or glucagon. Peptide recoveries were measured in samples kept for 1 and 3 h at room temperature or on ice, treated with various enzyme inhibitors, after up to three thawing–refreezing cycles, and after storage at −20 and −80 °C for up to 1 year. Recoveries were unaffected by freezing cycles or if plasma was stored on ice for up to 3 h, but were impaired when samples stood at RT for more than 1 h. Recovery of intact GLP-1 increased by addition of a DPP4 inhibitor (no ice), but was not further improved by neutral endopeptidase 24.11 inhibitor or an inhibitor cocktail. GLP-1, but not glucagon, was stable for at least 1 year. Surprisingly, the recovery of glucagon was reduced by almost 50% by freezing compared with immediate analysis, regardless of storage time. Plasma handling procedures can significantly influence results of subsequent hormone analysis. Our data support addition of DPP4 inhibitor for GLP-1 measurement as well as cooling on ice of both GLP-1 and glucagon. Freeze–thaw cycles did not significantly affect stability of GLP-1 or glucagon. Long-term storage may affect glucagon levels regardless of storage temperature and results should be interpreted with caution.

Open access

Peter L Kristensen, Ulrik Pedersen-Bjergaard, Rikke Due-Andersen, Thomas Høi-Hansen, Lise Grimmeshave, Valeriya Lyssenko, Leif Groop, Jens J Holst, Allan A Vaag and Birger Thorsteinsson

Introduction

In healthy carriers of the T allele of the transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2), fasting plasma glucagon concentrations are lower compared with those with the C allele. We hypothesised that presence of the T allele is associated with a diminished glucagon response during hypoglycaemia and a higher frequency of severe hypoglycaemia (SH) in type 1 diabetes (T1DM).

Material and methods

This is a post hoc study of an earlier prospective observational study of SH and four mechanistic studies of physiological responses to hypoglycaemia. 269 patients with T1DM were followed in a one-year observational study. A log-linear negative binomial model was applied with events of SH as dependent variable and TCF7L2 alleles as explanatory variable. In four experimental studies including 65 people, TCF7L2 genotyping was done and plasma glucagon concentration during experimental hypoglycaemia was determined.

Results

Incidences of SH were TT 0.54, TC 0.98 and CC 1.01 episodes per patient-year with no significant difference between groups. During experimental hypoglycaemia, the TCF7L2 polymorphism did not influence glucagon secretion.

Discussion

Patients with T1DM carrying the T allele of the TCF7L2 polymorphism do not exhibit diminished glucagon response during hypoglycaemia and are not at increased risk of severe hypoglycaemia compared with carriers of the C allele.