Exploring the Diversity of Sugar Compounds in Healthy, Prediabetic, and Diabetic Volunteers
Scope: Diabetes is thought to primarily represent a disturbance of carbohydrate metabolism; however, population studies employing metabolomics have mainly identified plasma amino acids and lipids, or their products, as biomarkers. In this pilot study, the aim is to analyze a wide spectrum of sugar compounds in the fasting state and during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in healthy, prediabetic, and type 2 diabetic volunteers. Methods and results: The three volunteer groups underwent a standard OGTT. Plasma samples obtained in the fasting state, 30 and 90 min after the OGTT, are subjected to a semitargeted GC–MS (gas chromatography–mass spectrometry) sugar profiling. Overall, 40 sugars are detected in plasma, of which some are yet unknown to change during an OGTT. Several sugars (e.g., trehalose) reveal significant differences between the volunteer groups both in fasting plasma and in distinct time courses after the OGTT. This suggests an endogenous production from orally absorbed glucose and/or an insulin-dependent production/removal from plasma. Conclusion: It is demonstrated that more sugars than expected can be found in human plasma. Since some of these show characteristic differences depending on health status, it may be worthwhile to assess their usability as biomarkers for diagnosing early-stage insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.