Insulin and glucagon release of human islets in vitro: Effects of chronic exposure to glucagon

F. Bertuzzi, C. Berra, C. Socci, A. M. Davalli, G. Pozza, A. E. Pontiroli

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Hyperglucagonemia is commonly found in insulin-dependent as well as in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and is likely to be caused by absolute or relative insulin deficiency. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether a chronic glucagon exposure (1.0 μM for 4 h) modifies the insulin response to acute stimuli with glucagon (1.0 μM), arginine (10.0 mM) and glucose (16.7 mM), or the glucagon response to arginine and glucose, in human islets. Chronic exposure to glucagon did not affect the insulin response to glucose and arginine, but inhibited its response to glucagon (44.6 ± 9.3 vs 168.6 ± 52.3 pg/islet per 20 min, P <0.05); the latter effect was not observed when exposure to glucagon was discontinuous (2.0 μM glucagon alternated with control medium for 30 min periods). The chronic exposure to glucagon also reduced the glucagon response to arginine (-4.9 ± 5.7 vs 19.9 ± 7.9 pg/islet per 20 min, P <0.05) without affecting the inhibition of glucagon release exerted by glucose. These data indicate that chronic exposure to glucagon desensitizes pancreatic α and β cells in response to selected stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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