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The evolution of breath composition during oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) was analysed by thermal desorption/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry in 16 subjects and correlated to blood glucose levels. The glucose tolerance tests classified five of the subjects as diabetics, eight as affected by impaired glucose tolerance and three as normoglycaemic. Acetone levels were generally higher in diabetics (average concentration values: diabetics, 300 ± 40 ppbv; impaired glucose tolerance, 350 ± 30 ppbv; normoglycaemic, 230 ± 20 ppbv) but the large inter-individual variability did not allow us to identify the three groups by this parameter alone. The exhalation of 3-hydroxy-butan-2-one and butane-2,3-dione, likely due to the metabolization of glucose by bacteria in the mouth, was also observed. Future work will involve the extension of the analyses to other volatile compounds by attempting to improve the level of discrimination between the various classes of subjects.


S Ghimenti, S Tabucchi, T Lomonaco, F Di Francesco, R Fuoco, M Onor, S Lenzi, M G Trivella. Monitoring breath during oral glucose tolerance tests. Journal of breath research. 2013 Mar;7(1):017115

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PMID: 23446273

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