The mechanisms of postprandial glucose counterregulation—those that blunt late decrements in plasma glucose, prevent hypoglycemia, and restore euglycemia—have not been fully defined. To begin to clarify these mechanisms, we measured neuroendocrine and metabolic responses to the ingestion of glucose (75 g), xylose (62.5 g), mannitol (20 g), and water in ten normal human subjects to determine for each response the magnitude, temporal relationships, and specificity for glucose ingestion. Measurements were made at 10-min intervals over 5 h. By multivariate analysis of variance, the plasma glucose (P < 0.0001), insulin (P < 0.0001), glucagon (P < 0.03), epinephrine (P < 0.0004), and growth hormone (P < 0.01) curves, as well as the blood lactate (P < 0.0001), glycerol (P < 0.001), and β-hydroxybutyrate (P < 0.0001) curves following glucose ingestion differed significantly from those following water ingestion. However, the growth hormone curves did not differ after correction for differences at base line. In contrast, the plasma norepinephrine (P < 0.31) and cortisol (P < 0.24) curves were similar after ingestion of all four test solutions, although early and sustained increments in norepinephrine occurred after all four test solutions. Thus, among the potentially important glucose regulatory factors, only transient increments in insulin, transient decrements in glucagon, and late increments in epinephrine are specific for glucose ingestion. They do not follow ingestion of water, xylose, or mannitol.


Thomas F. Tse, William E. Clutter, Suresh D. Shah, J. Philip Miller, Philip E. Cryer


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