George Tharakan, Preeshila Behary, Nicolai J Wewer Albrechtsen, Harvinder Chahal, Julia Kenkre, Alexander D Miras, Ahmed R Ahmed, Jens J Holst, Stephen R Bloom and Tricia Tan
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery is currently the most effective treatment for diabetes and obesity. An increasingly recognized and highly disabling complication of RYGB is postprandial hypoglycaemia (PPH). The pathophysiology of PPH remains unclear with multiple mechanisms suggested including nesidioblastosis, altered insulin clearance and increased glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion. Whilst many PPH patients respond to dietary modification, some have severely disabling symptoms. Multiple treatments are proposed, including dietary modification, GLP-1 antagonism, GLP-1 analogues and even surgical reversal, with none showing a more decided advantage over the others. A greater understanding of the pathophysiology of PPH could guide the development of new therapeutic strategies.
We studied a cohort of PPH patients at the Imperial Weight Center. We performed continuous glucose monitoring to characterize their altered glycaemic variability. We also performed a mixed meal test (MMT) and measured gut hormone concentrations.
We found increased glycaemic variability in our cohort of PPH patients, specifically a higher mean amplitude glucose excursion (MAGE) score of 4.9. We observed significantly greater and earlier increases in insulin, GLP-1 and glucagon in patients who had hypoglycaemia in response to an MMT (MMT Hypo) relative to those that did not (MMT Non-Hypo). No significant differences in oxyntomodulin, GIP or peptide YY secretion were seen between these two groups.
An early peak in GLP-1 and glucagon may together trigger an exaggerated insulinotropic response to eating and consequent hypoglycaemia in patients with PPH.
Monika J Bak, Nicolai Wewer Albrechtsen, Jens Pedersen, Bolette Hartmann, Mikkel Christensen, Tina Vilsbøll, Filip K Knop, Carolyn F Deacon, Lars O Dragsted and Jens J Holst
To determine the specificity and sensitivity of assays carried out using commercially available kits for glucagon and/or oxyntomodulin measurements.
Ten different assay kits used for the measurement of either glucagon or oxyntomodulin concentrations were obtained. Solutions of synthetic glucagon (proglucagon (PG) residues 33–61), oxyntomodulin (PG residues 33–69) and glicentin (PG residues 1–69) were prepared and peptide concentrations were verified by quantitative amino acid analysis and a processing-independent in-house RIA. Peptides were added to the matrix (assay buffer) supplied with the kits (concentration range: 1.25–300 pmol/l) and to human plasma and recoveries were determined. Assays yielding meaningful results were analysed for precision and sensitivity by repeated analysis and ability to discriminate low concentrations.
Results and conclusion
Three assays were specific for glucagon (carried out using the Millipore (Billerica, MA, USA), Bio-Rad (Sundbyberg, Sweden), and ALPCO (Salem, NH, USA) and Yanaihara Institute (Shizuoka, Japan) kits), but none was specific for oxyntomodulin. The assay carried out using the Phoenix (Burlingame, CA, USA) glucagon kit measured the concentrations of all three peptides (total glucagon) equally. Sensitivity and precision were generally poor; the assay carried out using the Millipore RIA kit performed best with a sensitivity around 10 pmol/l. Assays carried out using the BlueGene (Shanghai, China), USCN LIFE (Wuhan, China) (oxyntomodulin and glucagon), MyBioSource (San Diego, CA, USA) and Phoenix oxyntomodulin kits yielded inconsistent results.