Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) readings are delayed relative to blood glucose, and this delay is usually attributed to the latency of interstitial glucose levels. However, CGM-independent data suggest rapid equilibration of interstitial glucose. This study sought to determine the loci of CGM delays. Electrical current was measured directly from CGM electrodes to define sensor kinetics in the absence of smoothing algorithms. CGMs were implanted in mice, and sensor versus blood glucose responses were measured after an intravenous glucose challenge. Dispersion of a fluorescent glucose analog (2-NBDG) into the CGM microenvironment was observed in vivo using intravital microscopy. Tissue deposited on the sensor and nonimplanted subcutaneous adipose tissue was then collected for histological analysis. The time to half-maximum CGM response in vitro was 35 ± 2 s. In vivo, CGMs took 24 ± 7 min to reach maximum current versus 2 ± 1 min to maximum blood glucose ( = 0.0017). 2-NBDG took 21 ± 7 min to reach maximum fluorescence at the sensor versus 6 ± 6 min in adipose tissue ( = 0.0011). Collagen content was closely correlated with 2-NBDG latency ( = 0.96, = 0.0004). Diffusion of glucose into the tissue deposited on a CGM is substantially delayed relative to interstitial fluid. A CGM that resists fibrous encapsulation would better approximate real-time deviations in blood glucose.
© 2019 by the American Diabetes Association.