Importance of hyperglucagonemia in eliciting the sepsis-induced increase in glucose production

C. H. Lang, G. J. Bagby, H. L. Blakesley, J. J. Spitzer

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43 Scopus citations


The plasma concentration of various catabolic hormones, including glucagon and catecholamines, is elevated in sepsis. Furthermore, the infusion of these hormones into control animals increases the rate of glucose production. Previous studies by our laboratory have demonstrated that adrenergic blockade alone is not able to reverse or prevent the sepsis-induced increase in glucose metabolism. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to determine whether the sepsis-induced hyperglucagonemia was important to maintain the elevation in glucose metabolism. Hypermetabolic sepsis was produced in chronically catheterized conscious rats by repeated subcutaneous injections of Escherichia coli. Glucose kinetics, assessed by the constant i.v. infusion of [6-3H]- and [U-14C]-glucose, were determined in septic and nonseptic rats prior to and for 3-4 hr after the infusion of somatostatin with or without insulin replacement. Sepsis increased the rate of glucose appearance (80%), recycling (276%), and metabolic clearance (88%), as well as the plasma lactate concentration (140%), compared to nonseptic rats. Lowering both the insulin and glucagon concentration with somatostatin did not attenuate the sepsis-induced increases in glucose metabolism. However, when the hyperglucagonemia was selectively reduced by replacing insulin, and euglycemia was maintained by a glucose infusion, the elevated rate of endogenous glucose production returned to levels not different from nonseptic animals. In contrast, the sepsis-induced elevation of glucose clearance was unaltered under these conditions. These results indicate that during hypermetabolic sepsis the elevated glucagon level is an important mediator of the enhanced rate of gluconeo-genesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-191
Number of pages11
JournalCirculatory Shock
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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