Endocrine and metabolic diurnal rhythms in young adult men born small vs appropriate for gestational age

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OBJECTIVE: Sleep disturbances and alterations of diurnal endocrine rhythms are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). We previously showed that young men born small for gestational age (SGA) and with increased risk of T2D have elevated fat and decreased glucose oxidation rates during nighttime. In this study, we investigated whether SGA men have an altered diurnal profile of hormones, substrates and inflammatory markers implicated in T2D pathophysiology compared with matched individuals born appropriate for gestational age (AGA).

METHODS: We collected hourly blood samples for 24 h, to measure levels of glucose, free fatty acids (FFA), triglycerides (TG), insulin, C-peptide, leptin, resistin, ghrelin, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), incretins (GLP-1 and GIP), and inflammatory markers (TNF-α and IL-6) in 13 young men born SGA and 11 young men born AGA.

RESULTS: Repeated measurements analyses were used to analyze the diurnal variations and differences between groups. The SGA subjects had increased 24-h glucose (P=0.03), glucagon (P=0.03) and resistin (P=0.003) levels with no difference in diurnal rhythms compared with AGA controls. We found significant diurnal variations in levels of blood glucose, plasma TG, FFA, insulin, C-peptide, GLP-1, GIP, leptin, visfatin, TNF-α, IL-6 and PAI-1. The variation in FFA levels differed between the groups during the evening. Plasma ghrelin and glucagon levels did not display diurnal variations.

CONCLUSIONS: Young men born SGA exhibit elevated 24-h blood glucose, and plasma glucagon and resistin levels with no major differences in diurnal rhythms of these or other key metabolic hormones, substrates or inflammatory markers implicated in the origin of adiposity and T2D.


External organisations
  • Copenhagen University Hospital
Research areas and keywords


  • Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-40
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes