Assessment of pulsatile insulin secretion derived from peripheral plasma c-peptide concentrations by nonparametric stochastic deconvolution

Marcello C. Laurenti, Adrian Vella, Ron T. Varghese, James C. Andrews, Anu Sharma, Nana Esi Kittah, Robert A. Rizza, Aleksey Matveyenko, Giuseppe De Nicolao, Claudio Cobelli, Chiara Dalla Man

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The characteristics of pulsatile insulin secretion are important determinants of type 2 diabetes pathophysiology, but they are understudied due to the difficulties in measuring pulsatile insulin secretion noninvasively. Deconvolution of either peripheral C-peptide or insulin concentrations offers an appealing alternative to hepatic vein catheterization. However, to do so, there are a series of methodological challenges to overcome. C-peptide has a relatively long half-life and accumulates in the circulation. On the other hand, peripheral insulin concentrations reflect relatively fast clearance and hepatic extraction as it leaves the portal circulation to enter the systemic circulation. We propose a method based on nonparametric stochastic deconvolution of C-peptide concentrations, using individually determined C-peptide kinetics, to overcome these limitations. The use of C-peptide (instead of insulin) concentrations allows estimation of portal (and not post-hepatic) insulin pulses, whereas nonparametric stochastic deconvolution allows evaluation of pulsatile signals without any a priori assumptions of pulse shape and occurrence. The only assumption required is the degree of smoothness of the (unknown) secretion rate. We tested this method first on simulated data and then on 29 nondiabetic subjects studied during euglycemia and hyperglycemia and compared our estimates with the profiles obtained from hepatic vein insulin concentrations. This method produced satisfactory results both in the ability to fit the data and in providing reliable estimates of pulsatile secretion, in agreement with hepatic vein measurements. In conclusion, the proposed method enables reliable and noninvasive measurement of pulsatile insulin secretion. Future studies will be needed to validate this method in people with type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E687-E694
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019


  • C-peptide kinetics
  • Diabetes
  • Hepatic extraction
  • Insulin pulses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of pulsatile insulin secretion derived from peripheral plasma c-peptide concentrations by nonparametric stochastic deconvolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this