Insulin homeostasis in the extremely low birth weight infant
The need to improve the nutritional status of extremely low birth weight infants has resulted in a higher incidence of problems related to glucose intolerance. The inability of the newborn to inhibit gluconeogenesis in response to a glucose infusion has been postulated as an important determinant of the hyperglycemia observed in extremely low birth weight infants. The 2 proposed mechanisms to explain this finding include inappropriate secretion of insulin by the pancreas and decrease sensitivity of the liver to the gluco-regulatory effect of insulin. The capacity of extremely low birth weight infants to oxidize glucose at higher rates, and the positive effect that insulin may have in glucose utilization and tolerance, support the use of insulin in the prevention and treatment of hyperglycemia. Continuous infusion of insulin appears to be safe for the treatment of hyperglycemia, based on the available studies. However, the effectiveness of insulin treatment needs to be critically tested further before it can be implemented in routine clinical practice.
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