Meal-related hypertriglyceridaemia and low-grade inflammation in relation to betacell function in the general population

Background

 Beta-cell dysfunction is the key component of hyperglycaemia in the aetiology of type 2 diabetes. Little is known about determinants of beta-cell function in the general adult population. Exposure to high levels of free fatty acids and ectopic intracellular storage of triglycerides has been suggested to result in insulin resistance and oxidative stress. It is hypothesised that chronic exposure to high levels of free fatty acids also contribute to beta-cell dysfunction. Since physical inactivity and nutritional habits are strong determinants of obesity and ectopic triglyceride accumulation resulting in chronic exposure to elevated triglycerides and free fatty acid concentrations, these life-style characteristics are hypothesised also to be associated with beta-cell function. So far, beta-cell function in population studies has mostly been measured with the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The metabolic response to a normal physiological mixed meal is expected to produce a more reliable marker of beta-cell function than the standard OGTT.