Salivary gland hyperglycemic factor: an extrapancreatic source of glucagon-like material

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Science  07 Jan 1977:
Vol. 195, Issue 4273, pp. 70-72
DOI: 10.1126/science.63992


Extracts of homogenates of rat, mouse, rabbit, and human submaxillary salivary glands contain a significant quantity of a material with glucagon-like immunoreactivity. Fractionation of this material on columns of Sephadex G-100 reveals a single peak immediately following a gamma globulin marker but in advance of a rat growth hormone marker, crystalline amylase, and isotopically labeled porcine insulin and glucagon. This material, which is urea stable, shows identical immunoassay dilution curves when measured with the highly specific K-30 glucagon antiserum. Study of paired glands in vitro shows that low concentrations of glucose stimulate and high concentrations of glucose suppress release of this material. Arginine promotes brisk release in vitro. Somatostatin does not influence arginine-stimulated secretion and insignificantly suppresses basal release in vitro. These findings lend support to previous speculations that the salivary glands may possess endocrine as well as exocrine functions. Salivary gland glucagon may also be the source of circulating glucagon recently reported in pancreatectomized and eviscerated rats.