OBJECTIVE: It is uncertain whether the ability to avoid hypoglycaemia during fasting is preserved, and the risk of reactive hypoglycaemia after an oral glucose stimulus following a prolonged fasting period is increased at augmented glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) levels. DESIGN: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over study in eight healthy men to assess the safety, in terms of hypoglycaemia, of a continuously infused pharmacological dose of native GLP-1 during long-term fasting. After an overnight fast the fasting period continued for 48 h and was followed by a 3-h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). GLP-1(7-36 amide) or placebo was continuously infused subcutaneously and titrated to a dose of 4.8 pmol/kg per min. RESULTS: Two subjects in the GLP-1 group and one subject in the placebo group were withdrawn due to protocol specified plasma glucose (PG) < or = 2.8 mm and neuroglycopaenic symptoms. The infusion of GLP-1 resulted in pharmacological levels of intact GLP-1. During the fasting period PG, insulin and C-peptide levels declined and glucagon, GH and free fatty acid (FFA) levels increased with no differences between GLP-1 and placebo. During OGTT circulating levels of insulin and C-peptide were higher with GLP-1 infusion. However, PG was similar during GLP-1 vs. placebo infusions. GLP-1 infusion increased norepinephrine and cortisol levels during OGTT. CONCLUSION: The counter-regulatory response during 48 h of subcutaneous GLP-1 infusion was preserved despite long-term fasting with no apparent increased risk of hypoglycaemic episodes. No reactive hypoglycaemia was observed when the fast was followed by an OGTT. Thus use of long-acting GLP-1 analogues may not increase the risk of hypoglycaemia.
Keywords: Adult; Blood Glucose; C-Peptide; Cross-Over Studies; Fasting; Fatty Acids, Nonesterified; Glucagon-Like Peptide 1; Glucose Tolerance Test; Human Growth Hormone; Humans; Hypoglycemia; Infusions, Subcutaneous; Insulin; Male; Norepinephrine; Peptide Fragments