Meal feeding improves oral glucose tolerance in male rats and causes adaptations in postprandial islet hormone secretion that are independent of plasma incretins or glycemia.
Meal-fed (MF) rats with access to food for only 4 consecutive hours during the light cycle learn to eat large meals to maintain energy balance. MF animals develop behavioral and endocrine changes that permit glucose tolerance despite increased meal size. We hypothesized that enhanced activity of the enteroinsular axis mediates glucose homeostasis during MF. Cohorts of rats were allocated to MF or ad libitum (AL) regimens for 2-4 wk. Insulin secretion and glucose tolerance were determined after oral carbohydrate and intraperitoneal (ip) and intravenous (iv) glucose. MF rats ate less than AL in the first week but maintained a comparable weight trajectory thereafter. MF rats had decreased glucose excursions after a liquid mixed meal (AUC: MF 75 ± 7, AL 461 ± 28 mmol·l⁻¹·min, P < 0.001), with left-shifted insulin secretion (AUC(0-15): MF 31.0 ± 4.9, AL 9.6 ± 4.4 pM·min, P < 0.02), which peaked before a significant rise in blood glucose. Both groups had comparable fasting glucagon levels, but postprandial responses were lower with MF. However, neither intestinal expression of proGIP and proglucagon mRNA nor plasma incretin levels differed between MF and AL groups. There were no differences in the insulin response to ip or iv glucose between MF and AL rats. These findings demonstrate that MF improves oral glucose tolerance and is associated with significant changes in postprandial islet hormone secretion. Because MF enhanced β-cell function during oral but not parenteral carbohydrate administration, and was not accounted for by changes in circulating incretins, these results support a neural mechanism of adaptive insulin secretion.
Vahl, TP; Aulinger, BA; Smith, EP; Drazen, DL; Ulrich-Lai, Y; Seeley, RJ; Woods, SC; D'Alessio, DA
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