We assessed the combined role of epinephrine and glucagon in regulating gluconeogenic precursor metabolism during insulin-induced hypoglycemia in the overnight-fasted, adrenalectomized, conscious dog. In paired studies (n = 5), insulin was infused intraportally at 5 mU · kg−1 · min−1 for 3 h. Epinephrine was infused at a basal rate (B-EPI) or variable rate to simulate the normal epinephrine response to hypoglycemia (H-EPI), whereas in both groups the hypoglycemia-induced rise in cortisol was simulated by cortisol infusion. Plasma glucose fell to ~ 42 mg/dl in both groups. Glucagon failed to rise in B-EPI, but increased normally in H-EPI. Hepatic glucose release fell in B-EPI but increased in H-EPI. In B-EPI, the normal rise in lactate levels and net hepatic lactate uptake was prevented. Alanine and glycerol metabolism were similar in both groups. Since glucagon plays little role in regulating gluconeogenic precursor metabolism during 3 h of insulin-induced hypoglycemia, epinephrine must be responsible for increasing lactate release from muscle, but is minimally involved in the lipolytic response. In conclusion, a normal rise in epinephrine appears to be required to elicit an increase in glucagon during insulin-induced hypoglycemia in the dog. During insulin-induced hypoglycemia, epinephrine plays a major role in maintaining an elevated rate of glucose production, probably via muscle lactate release and hepatic lactate uptake.
- Glucose metabolism