Lack of Glucagon Response to Hypoglycemia in Diabetes: Evidence for an Intrinsic Pancreatic Alpha Cell Defect

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Science  12 Oct 1973:
Vol. 182, Issue 4108, pp. 171-173
DOI: 10.1126/science.182.4108.171


Despite excessive glucagon responses to infusion of arginine, plasma glucagon did not rise in six juvenile-type diabetics during severe insulin-induced hypoglycemia, whereas glucagon in the controls rose significantly. Thus in diabetics pancreatic alpha cells are insensitive to glucose even in the presence of large amounts of circulating insulin. An intrinsic defect common to both alpha and beta pancreatic cells—failure to recognize (or respond to) plasma glucose fluctuations—may be operative in juvenile diabetes.

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