Time Lag of Glucose From Intravascular to Interstitial Compartment in Humans

  1. Rita Basu1
  1. 1Endocrine Research Unit, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  2. 2Dexcom, Inc., San Diego, California
  3. 3Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota
  4. 4Department of Information Engineering, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
  1. Corresponding author: Rita Basu, basu.rita{at}


The accuracy of continuous interstitial fluid (ISF) glucose sensing is an essential component of current and emerging open- and closed-loop systems for type 1 diabetes. An important determinant of sensor accuracy is the physiological time lag of glucose transport from the vascular to the interstitial space. We performed the first direct measurement of this phenomenon to our knowledge in eight healthy subjects under an overnight fasted condition. Microdialysis catheters were inserted into the abdominal subcutaneous space. After intravenous bolus administrations of glucose tracers, timed samples of plasma and ISF were collected sequentially and analyzed for tracer enrichments. After accounting for catheter dead space and assay noise, the mean time lag of tracer appearance in the interstitial space was 5.3–6.2 min. We conclude that in the overnight fasted state in healthy adults, the physiological delay of glucose transport from the vascular to the interstitial space is 5–6 min. Physiological delay between blood glucose and ISF glucose, therefore, should not be an obstacle to sensor accuracy in overnight or fasting-state closed-loop systems of insulin delivery or open-loop therapy assessment for type 1 diabetes.

  • Received July 22, 2013.
  • Accepted September 3, 2013.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See for details.

| Table of Contents

This Article

  1. Diabetes vol. 62 no. 12 4083-4087
  1. All Versions of this Article:
    1. db13-1132v1
    2. db13-1132v2
    3. 62/12/4083 most recent