Increased disorderliness of basal insulin release, attenuated insulin secretory burst mass, and reduced ultradian rhythmicity of insulin secretion in older individuals

Graydon S. Meneilly, Alice S. Ryan, Johannes D Veldhuis, Dariush Elahi

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Insulin is secreted in a pulsatile fashion. Rapid pulses are considered to be important for inhibiting hepatic glucose output, and ultradian pulses for stimulating peripheral glucose disposal. Aging is characterized by a progressive impairment in carbohydrate tolerance. We undertook the current studies to determine whether alterations in pulsatile insulin release accompany the age-related changes in carbohydrate metabolism. Healthy young (n = 8; body mass index, 21 ± 1 kg/m2; age, 24 ± 1 yr) and old (n = 9; body mass index, 24 ± 1 kg/m2; age, 77 ± 2 yr) volunteers underwent two studies. In the first study, insulin was sampled every 1 min for 150 min, and pulse analysis was conducted using a recently validated multiparameter deconvolution technique. In the second study, insulin was sampled every 10 min for 600 min, and insulin release was evaluated by Cluster analysis. In the 150-min studies, insulin secretory burst mass (P < 0.05) and amplitude (P < 0.01) were reduced in the elderly. In addition, approximate entropy, a measure of irregularity or disorderliness of insulin release, was increased in the aged (P < 0.01). In the 600-min studies, interpulse interval was greater in the aged (P < 0.05), and burst number was less (P < 0.05). We conclude that normal aging is characterized by more disorderly insulin release, a reduction in the amplitude and mass of rapid insulin pulses, and a decreased frequency of ultradian pulses. Whether these alterations in insulin pulsatility contribute directly to the age-related changes in carbohydrate metabolism will require further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4088-4093
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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