Clinical Science| Volume 62, ISSUE 6, P836-844, June 2013

Whole-body glucose oxidation rate during prolonged exercise in type 1 diabetic patients under usual life conditions

Published:February 04, 2013DOI:



      Fuel oxidation during exercise was studied in type 1 insulin-dependent (T1DM) patients mainly under quite constant insulin and glycemia; these protocols, however, likely do not reflect patients’ usual metabolic conditions. The glucose oxidation rate (GLUox) in T1DM patients under usual life conditions was thus investigated during prolonged exercise (3-h) and its behavior was described mathematically.


      Whole-body GLUox was determined in eight T1DM patients (4/8 M; aged 35–59 years) and eight well-matched healthy subjects. Venous blood was drawn prior to and every 30 min until the end of exercise; glycemia, insulin, cortisol, and growth hormone concentrations were determined. Oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, and ventilation were measured at rest and thereafter every 30 min of the exercise. To prevent hypoglycemia, patients were given fruit fudge (93% sucrose) prior to / during exercise.


      Insulin concentration and glycemia were significantly higher in patients across the entire exercise period (group effect, p<0.001 for both). GLUox decreased significantly with increasing exercise duration (time effect, p<0.001), but no significant difference was detected between the two groups (group effect, p=NS). GLUox, expressed as the percentage of the starting value, was described by an exponential function showing a time constant of 90 min (n=96; mean corrected R2=0.666).


      GLUox in T1DM patients was not significantly different from the rate observed in the control subjects. The function describing the time course of GLUox may be useful to correct an estimated GLUox for the duration of exercise and help T1DM patients avoiding exercise-induced glycemic imbalances.


      CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring device), CHO (Carbohydrates), GLUox (Glucose oxidation rate), hGH (Growth hormone), HR (Heart Rate), HRmax (Theoretical maximal heart rate calculated as 220 − age (expressed in years)), HRrest (Resting heart rate), HRtarget (Target heart rate during the trials), IU (Insulin Units), RER (Respiratory exchange ratio), T1DM (Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes), V˙CO2 (Carbon dioxide production), V˙O2 (Oxygen consumption)


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