During progression to both types 1 and 2 diabetes (T1D, T2D), there is a striking loss of glucose-induced first-phase insulin release (FPIR), which is known to predict the onset of T1D. The contribution of reduced β cell mass to the onset of hyperglycemia remains unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Mezza et al. report on their study of patients with pancreatic neoplasms before and after partial pancreatectomy to evaluate the impact of reduced β cell mass on the development of diabetes. The authors found that reduced FPIR predicted diabetes when 50% of the pancreas was removed. These findings suggest that low or absent FPIR indicates that β cell mass can no longer compensate for increased insulin needs. Notably, clinicians may use reduction of FPIR as a warning that progression to T2D is underway.
Gordon C. Weir, Susan Bonner-Weir