A team of researchers, led by Alan Cherrington, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, has provided new insight into the mechanisms by which blood levels of glucose -- one of the main sources of energy for the cells in our body -- are regulated.
Given the importance of glucose as a source of energy for cells, maintaining adequate levels of glucose in the blood is extremely important. The opposing effects of the hormones insulin and glucagon are key to this: insulin induces liver, muscle, and fat cells to take up glucose from the blood and store it, while glucagon induces the liver to release stored glucose into the blood.
In the study, Cherrington and colleagues show in dogs that although insulin potently inhibits the effects of glucagon when blood glucose levels are normal, glucagon overcomes the inhibitory effects of insulin when blood glucose levels are low. Further analysis provided insight into the mechanisms underlying this critical regulatory process.
- Noelia Rivera et al. Insulin-induced hypoglycemia increases hepatic sensitivity to glucagon in dogs. J Clin Invest., November 15, 2010 DOI: 10.1172/JCI40919
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