[125I]Insulin binding to insulin receptors on circulating monocytes was studied in 9 patients with acromegaly associated with fasting hyperglycemia and was compared to previously reported studies of 11 patients with acromegaly who had normal or nearly normal glucose tolerance and 29 normal volunteers. In the hyperglycemic acromegalic, as had been found in the normoglycemic acromegalic, the total receptor concentration per cell was decreased in proportion to the hyperinsulinemia, i.e. the receptor concentration was inversely related to the basal level of insulin, similar to what is found in patients with obesity, diabetes, and insulin-secreting tumors. However, the acromegalic patients with hyperglycemia failed to show the increase in affinity of the empty receptor that had previously been found in their normoglycemic counterparts. The failure to increase receptor affinity causes the cells of the hyperglycemic acromegalic patients to bind less insulin at each insulin concentration than do the cells of normoglycemic patients. Again, the abnormalities in the patients correlates very closely with abnormalities at the level of the insulin receptor, though the sequence of the molecular events that produce these changes remains to be determined.
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