Role of portal insulin delivery in the disappearance of intravenous glucose and assessment of insulin sensitivity.
The contribution of portal insulin delivery to the disappearance of glucose administered intravenously was assessed in the present study. Paired insulin-modified intravenous glucose tolerance tests (IVGTTs) were performed in dogs in which insulin was administered into the portal vein or into a peripheral vein. Peripheral insulin levels were matched in the paired IVGTTs by adjusting the portal insulin dose in proportion to first-pass hepatic insulin extraction. Two sets of IVGTTs were performed. In the first set, hepatic insulin extraction was assumed to be 50% (insulin doses of 0.03 U/kg portal and 0.015 U/kg peripheral; n = 6); in the second set, the assumed extraction rate was reduced to 33% (0.0225 U/kg portal and 0.015 U/kg peripheral; n = 8). In the second set of experiments, a control "zero" dose (no insulin injection) was also performed. For these latter three IVGTTs, the exogenous glucose bolus was labeled with 3-[3H]glucose (25 microCi) to separately assess insulin's effects on the rate of glucose disappearance (Rd) and endogenous glucose production (EGP). For the paired IVGTT based on 33% extraction, the area under the insulin curves after the portal insulin injection was within 2% of that observed with peripheral insulin injection (1,820 +/- 711 vs. 1,791 +/- 661 microU/ml min; P = 0.79). For these conditions, neither the glucose profiles nor the minimal model estimate of insulin sensitivity (S(I)) was significantly influenced by the higher portal insulin delivery (S(I): 3.69 +/- 0.56 vs. 3.35 +/- 0.60 10(-4) min(-1) per microU/ml; portal vs. peripheral; P > 0.05). Analysis of the 3-[3H]glucose tracer dynamics failed to reveal any differences in the portal versus peripheral insulin effect on glucose disappearance or production. We conclude that portal insulin delivery per se does not significantly affect insulin's ability to normalize plasma glucose during acute glucose challenges.