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In vivoin vitro effects of somatostatin and insulin on glucagon release in a human glucagonoma

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Inhibition of pancreatic glucagon secretion has been reported to be mediated by glucose, insulin and somatostatin. As no human pancreatic α-cell lines are available to study in vitro the relative importance of insulin and glucose in the control of pancreatic glucagon release, we investigated a patient presenting with a malignant glucagonoma who underwent surgical resection of the tumour. Functional somatostatin receptors were present as octreotide administration decreased basal glucagon and insulin secretion by 52 and 74%, respectively. The removed tumour was immunohistochemically positive for glucagon, chromogranin A and pancreatic polypeptide but negative for insulin, gastrin and somatostatin. The glucagonoma cells were also isolated and cultured in vitro. Incubation experiments revealed that change from high (10 mm) to low (1 mm) glucose concentration was unable to stimulate glucagon secretion. A dose-dependent inhibition of glucagon release by insulin was however, observed at low glucose concentration. These findings demonstrate that insulin could inhibit glucagon secretion in vitro in the absence of elevated glucose concentrations. These data suggest, as observed in vivoin vitro in several animal studies, that glucopenia-induced glucagon secretion in humans is not mediated by a direct effect of low glucose on α-cells but possibly by a reduction of insulin-mediated α-cell suppression and/or an indirect neuronal stimulation of glucagon release.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Internal Medicine B, 2: Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and 3: Pathology and 4: Surgery; 5: Central Laboratory for Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital, CHUV-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland

Publication date: May 1, 1997

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