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Re: [IPk] Do we produce Glucagon ?

>QUESTION - Do we (diabetics) have any Glucagon production at all ? As we go
>hypo lots more regularly than non-diabetics I thought not. Or is Glucogon
>production just reduced without its complementary hormone - insulin - being
>secreted. If so, can we get some return in its function when we inject
>insulin ? Or is Glucagon just too slow to stop a exercise or insulin
>induced hypo ?

Julian -

I'll start by saying I've asked this question myself quite a lot, and I've
never heard a really satisfactory answer...

With that proviso, my former consultant in Bristol told me that within a
couple of years of diagnosis, glucagon production usually stops. The alpha
cells can make it, but the pathways that trigger it to do so have broken,
so it doesn't. But there was something about the way he told it that didn't
convince me he was telling the whole story. So there we are.

Certainly injecting small amounts of glucagon to temper a mild hypo is an
appealing solution. I wonder if it has any use in the context of exercise
induced hypos? Adrenalin, which the body makes in response to a hypo and
raises your bg, has the unfortunate side affect of making you nervous,
irritable, and in some cases violent.

I don't know if you have ever received a glucagon injection to stop a hypo?
I haven't, but I'm told it leaves a nasty hangover afterwards. This is
caused by the fact you've been given a massive overdose - enough to rouse a
bull elephant as a doctor once told me.

I also heard that some of the implantable insulin pumps that are being
developed may in fact contain glucagon as well, so the pump can respond
rapidly and effectively to a sudden drop in bg.


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