Comparative effects of intraduodenal fat and glucose on the gut-incretin axis in healthy males

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The interaction of nutrients with the small intestine stimulates the secretion of numerous enteroendocrine hormones that regulate postprandial metabolism. However, differences in gastrointestinal hormonal responses between the macronutrients are incompletely understood. In the present study, we compared blood glucose and plasma hormone concentrations in response to standardised intraduodenal (ID) fat and glucose infusions in healthy humans.


In a parallel study design, 16 healthy males who received an intraduodenal fat infusion were compared with 12 healthy males who received intraduodenal glucose, both at a rate of 2 kcal/min over 120 min. Venous blood was sampled at frequent intervals for measurements of blood glucose, and plasma total and active glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), insulin and glucagon.


Plasma concentrations of the incretin hormones (both total and active GLP-1 and GIP) and glucagon were higher, and plasma insulin and blood glucose concentrations lower, during intraduodenal fat, when compared with intraduodenal glucose, infusion (treatment by time interaction: P < 0.001 for each).


Compared with glucose, intraduodenal fat elicits substantially greater GLP-1, GIP and glucagon secretion, with minimal effects on blood glucose or plasma insulin in healthy humans. These observations are consistent with the concept that fat is a more potent stimulus of the ‘gut-incretin’ axis than carbohydrate.

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