Glucagon’s effect on hepatic glucose production (HGP), under hyperglycemic conditions, is time dependent such that after an initial burst of HGP, it slowly wanes. It is not known whether this is also the case under hypoglycemic conditions, where an increase in HGP is essential. This question was addressed using adrenalectomized dogs to avoid the confounding effects of other counterregulatory hormones. During the study, infusions of epinephrine and cortisol were given to maintain basal levels. Somatostatin and insulin (800 µU·kg−1·min−1) were infused to induce hypoglycemia. After 30 min, glucagon was infused at a basal rate (1 ng·kg−1·min−1, baGGN group, n = 5 dogs) or a rate eightfold basal (8 ng·kg−1·min−1, hiGGN group, n = 5 dogs) for 4 h. Glucose was infused to match the arterial glucose levels between groups (≈50 mg/dL). Our data showed that glucagon has a biphasic effect on the liver despite hypoglycemia. Hyperglucagonemia stimulated a rapid, transient peak in HGP (4-fold basal production) over ~60 min, which was followed by a slow reduction in HGP to a rate 1.5-fold basal. During the last 2 h of the experiment, hiGGN stimulated glucose production at a rate fivefold greater than baGGN (2.5 vs. 0.5 mg·kg−1·min−1, respectively), indicating a sustained effect of the hormone. Of note, the hypoglycemia-induced rises in norepinephrine and glycerol were smaller in hiGGN compared with the baGGN group despite identical hypoglycemia. This finding suggests that there is reciprocity between glucagon and the sympathetic nervous system such that when glucagon is increased, the sympathetic nervous response to hypoglycemia is downregulated.
AJP - Endocrinology and Metabolism – The American Physiological Society
Published: May 1, 2020
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