The renal handling of the biologically active glucagon component (the 3,500-mol wt fraction of immunoreactive glucagon [IRG]) and the contribution of the kidney to its overall peripheral metabolism were studied in normal and uremic rats. The metabolic clearance rate of glucagon was 31.8 ± 1.2 ml/min per kg in normal animals and was diminished by approximately one-third in each of three groups of rats with compromized renal function: 22.3±1.6 ml/min per kg in partially (70%) nephrectomized; 22.9±3.3 ml/min per kg in bilaterally ureteral ligated; and 23.2±1.2 ml/min per kg in bilaterally nephrectomized animals. In normal rats the kidney contributed 30% to the overall metabolic clearance of the hormone and the renal extraction of endogenous and exogenous glucagon was similar, averaging 22.9±1.6% and was independent of plasma IRG levels over a wide range of arterial concentrations. The remnant kidney of partially (70%) nephrectomized animals continued to extract substantial amounts (16.6±4.2%) of the hormone, but accounted for only 8% of the total peripheral catabolism of IRG. In the two groups of animals with filtering kidneys, renal glucagon uptake was linearly related to its filtered load and could be accounted for by glomerular filtration and tubular reabsorption. However, the kidneys of animals with both ureters ligated (renal extraction of inulin = 3.2±1.8%) and hence virtual absence of glomerular filtration, continued to extract 11.5±1.9% of the renal arterial glucagon, contributing by 9% to its overall metabolic clearance, indicating that IRG uptake occurs also from the post glomerular capillaries.
D. S. Emmanouel, J. B. Jaspan, A. H. Rubenstein, A. H-J. Huen, E. Fink, A. I. Katz