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Tuesday 01 August 2006

Preserved sensitivity to beta2-adrenergic receptor agonists in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and hypoglycemia unawareness.

By: De Galan BE, De Mol P, Wennekes L, Schouwenberg BJ, Smits P.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2006 Aug;91(8):2878-81

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Use of beta(2)-adrenergic receptor agonists has been advocated for the treatment of hypoglycemia unawareness in type 1 diabetes. In vitro, however, hypoglycemia unawareness has been associated with reduced beta(2)-adrenergic sensitivity. Therefore, in vivo sensitivity to beta(2)-adrenergic receptor agonist stimulation was compared between type 1 diabetic patients with and without hypoglycemia unawareness and nondiabetic controls. METHODS: Ten type 1 diabetic patients with hypoglycemia unawareness, 12 type 1 diabetic patients with intact hypoglycemic awareness, and 11 healthy controls were enrolled. beta(2)-Adrenergic sensitivity was determined by measuring the forearm vasodilator response to intraarterial infusion of salbutamol. Salbutamol was infused in six increasing doses ranging from 0.003 to 1.0 mug(1).min(-1).dl(-1). Forearm blood flow (FBF) was bilaterally measured by venous occlusion plethysmography. Diabetic patients received low-dose insulin before FBF measurements to ensure that experiments were carried out under normoglycemic conditions. RESULTS: At baseline, FBF was 1.9 +/- 0.3 ml(1).min(-1).dl(-1) in controls, 2.3 +/- 0.4 ml(1).min(-1).dl(-1) in patients with intact awareness, and 1.4 +/- 0.1 ml(1).min(-1).dl(-1) in patients with hypoglycemia unawareness (P = 0.048 vs. aware patients). In response to salbutamol, FBF increased 9.1-fold in controls, 8.0-fold in patients with intact awareness, and 10.7-fold in patients with hypoglycemia unawareness (P = NS). Heart rate increased in all groups due to systemic spillover of salbutamol but appeared blunted, considering a greater fall in mean arterial pressure in patients with hypoglycemia unawareness. CONCLUSIONS: Sensitivity to beta(2)-adrenergic receptor agonist stimulation is preserved in type 1 diabetic patients with hypoglycemia unawareness.

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