The present experiments sought to determine whether glucagon concentrations mimicking those observed in people with diabetes mellitus alter postprandial carbohydrate metabolism in nondiabetic humans. We measured the gastric emptying of solids and liquids, the systemic rate of appearance of ingested glucose, and endogenous glucose production either when postprandial suppression of glucagon was prevented by infusing glucagon at a rate of 0.65 ng/kg/min, when postprandial glucagon concentrations were elevated by infusing glucagon at a rate of 3.0 ng/kg/min, or when postprandial suppression of glucagon was permitted by infusion of saline. Despite marked differences in glucagon concentrations, postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations did not differ on any occasion. Although gastric emptying of liquids and solids was comparable on all three occasions, the high-dose, but not the low-dose, glucagon infusion caused a slight delay in the systemic appearance of ingested glucose and a significant decrease (P< .01) in postprandial D-xylose concentrations, suggesting a delay in carbohydrate absorption. However, this was offset by an increase (P < .05) in endogenous glucose production, resulting in no difference in postprandial glucose appearance. We conclude that in the absence of insulin deficiency, neither a lack of suppression of glucagon nor an elevation of glucagon to levels encountered in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus cause postprandial hyperglycemia in nondiabetic humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism