OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the frequency of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (Type 2 DM) in siblings of patients with Type 2 DM, and to assess insulin release and insulin sensitivity in siblings with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), compared with NGT spouses of probands without family history of Type 2 DM. DESIGN AND METHODS: We evaluated 87 families including 103 Type 2 DM patients (87 probands), and we carried out an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in 130 siblings and in 60 spouses. Among NGT subjects, 12 siblings and 16 spouses underwent a low-dose insulin-glucose infusion test (LDIGIT) to evaluate C-peptide release and insulin sensitivity. RESULTS: After the OGTT, 24 siblings were classified as having Type 2 DM, 31 as IGT, and only 14 spouses as IGT (P=0.0012 vs siblings). NGT siblings (n=75) showed higher insulin levels at 120 min than NGT spouses (n=46) at OGTT, in spite of identical blood glucose levels; at LDIGIT, NGT siblings secreted more C-peptide and showed a lower insulin sensitivity than NGT spouses. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that middle-aged siblings of probands with Type 2 DM have a high frequency of IGT and Type 2 DM, and that NGT siblings have increased insulin resistance and increased insulin secretion when compared with adequate controls.
AE Pontiroli, LD Monti, S Costa, PE Sandoli, A Pizzini, SB Solerte, E Mantovani and PM Piatti
E Ferrari, L Cravello, B Muzzoni, D Casarotti, M Paltro, SB Solerte, M Fioravanti, G Cuzzoni, B Pontiggia and F Magri
The aim of this review was to examine the evidence for age-related changes of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in both physiological and pathological aging, on the basis of the many data in the literature, as well as of our personal findings. A statistically significant circadian rhythmicity of serum cortisol was maintained in elderly subjects, even if with a reduced amplitude of the 24 h fluctuations and a trend to an increase of the serum levels in the evening and at night-time, in comparison with young controls. Furthermore, an age-related impairment of HPA sensitivity to steroid feedback was present in elderly people. The occurrence of senile dementia amplified the changes already present in physiological aging. While the cortisol secretion was generally well maintained in aging, the adrenal production of dehydroepiandrosterone and of its sulfate (DHEAS) exhibited an age-related decline. Therefore, the cortisol/DHEAS molar ratio was significantly higher in elderly subjects and even more in demented ones, than in young controls. Due to the opposite effects of cortisol and DHEAS on the brain and particularly on the hippocampal region, the imbalance between glucocorticoids and androgens occurring in physiological and even more in pathological aging, may have adverse effects on the function of this region, whose key role in learning and memory is well known.