Accelerated intestinal glucose absorption in morbidly obese humans: Relationship to glucose transporters, incretin hormones, and glycemia

Nam Q. Nguyen, Tamara L. Debreceni, Jenna E. Bambrick, Bridgette Chia, Judith Wishart, Adam M. Deane, Chris K. Rayner, Michael Horowitz, Richard Young

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56 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Intestinal glucose absorption is mediated by sodium-dependent glucose transporter 1 (SGLT-1) and glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2), which are linked to sweet taste receptor (STR) signaling and incretin responses. Objective: This study aimed to examine intestinal glucose absorption in morbidly obese humans and its relationship to the expression of STR and glucose transporters, glycemia, and incretin responses. Design/Setting/Participants: Seventeen nondiabetic, morbidly obese subjects (body mass index [BMI], 48 ± 4kg/m2) and 11 lean controls (BMI, 25 ± 1 kg/m2) underwent endoscopic duodenal biopsies before and after a 30-minute intraduodenal glucose infusion (30 g glucose and 3 g 3-O-methylglucose [3-OMG]). Main Outcome Measures: Blood glucose and plasma concentrations of 3-OMG, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), insulin, and glucagon were measured over 270 minutes. Expression of duodenal SGLT-1, GLUT2, and STR (T1R2) was quantified by PCR. Results: The increase in plasma 3-OMG (P < .001) and blood glucose (P < .0001) were greater in obese than lean subjects. Plasma 3-OMG correlated directly with blood glucose (r = 0.78, P < .01). In response to intraduodenal glucose, plasma GIP (P < .001), glucagon (P < .001), and insulin (P < .001) were higher, but GLP-1 (P < .001) was less in the obese compared with lean. Expression of SGLT-1 (P = .035), but not GLUT2 or T1R2, was higher in the obese, and related to peak plasma 3-OMG (r = 0.60, P = .01), GIP (r = 0.67, P = .003), and insulin (r = 0.58, P = .02). Conclusions: In morbid obesity, proximal intestine glucose absorption is accelerated and related to increased SGLT-1 expression, leading to an incretin-glucagon profile promoting hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia. These findings are consistent with the concept that accelerated glucose absorption in the proximal gut underlies the foregut theory of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-976
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Mar 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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