Hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 alpha (HNF1α) defects cause Mature Onset Diabetes of the Young type 3 (MODY3), characterized by defects in beta-cell insulin secretion. However, HNF1α is involved in many other metabolic pathways with relevance for monogenic or polygenic type 2 diabetes. We aimed to investigate gut hormones, lipids, and insulin regulation in response to a meal test in HNF1α defect carriers (MODY3) compared to non-diabetic subjects (controls) and type 2 diabetes (T2D).
We administered a standardized liquid meal to each participant. Over 6 hours, we measured post-meal responses of insulin regulation (blood glucose, c-peptide, insulin), gut hormones (ghrelin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, glucagon-like peptide-1) and lipids (non-esterified fatty acids [NEFA] and triglycerides).
We found that MODY3 participants had lower insulin secretion indices than controls and T2D participants, showing the expected β-cell defect. MODY3 had similar glycated hemoglobin levels (HbA1c median [IQR]: 6.5 [5.6-7.6]%) compared to T2D (median: 6.6 [6.2-6.9]%; P<0.05). MODY3 had greater insulin sensitivity (Matsuda index: 71.9 [29.6; 125.5]) than T2D (3.2 [4.0; 6.0]; P<0.05). MODY3 experienced a larger decrease in the ratio of NEFA to insulin (NEFA 30-0 / insulin 30-0: -39 [-78; -30] x104) in the early post-prandial period (0-30 minutes) compared to controls and to T2D (-2.0 [-0.6; -6.4] x104; P<0.05). MODY3 had lower fasting (0.66 [0.46; 1.2] mM) and post-meal triglycerides levels compared to T2D (fasting: 2.3 [1.7; 2.7] mM; P<0.05). We did not detect significant post-meal differences in ghrelin and incretins between MODY3 and other groups.
In response to a standard meal test, MODY3 showed greater early post-prandial NEFA diminution in response to relatively low early insulin secretion, and they maintained very low post-prandial triglycerides levels.