Forearm norepinephrine spillover during standing, hyperinsulinemia, and hypoglycemia

Deanna S. Paramore, Carmine G. Fanelli, Suresh D. Shah, Philip E. Cryer

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24 Scopus citations


Plasma norepinephrine (NE) concentrations are a fallible index of sympathetic neural activity because circulating NE can be derived from sympathetic nerves, the adrenal medullas, or both and because of regional differences in sympathetic neural activity. We used isotope dilution measurements of systemic and forearm NE spillover rates (SNESO and FNESO, respectively) to study the sympathochromaffin system during prolonged standing, hyperinsulinemic euglycemia, and hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia in healthy humans. Prolonged standing led to decrements in blood pressure without increments in heart rate, the pattern of incipient vasodepressor syncope. FNESO was not increased (0.58 ± 0.20 to 0.50 ± 0.21 pmol · min- 1 · 100 ml tissue-1), suggesting that the approximately twofold increments in plasma NE and SNESO were derived from sympathetic nerves other than those in the forearm (with a possible contribution from the adrenal medullas). Hyperinsulinemia per se (euglycemia maintained) stimulated sympathetic neural activity, as evidenced by increments in FNESO (0.57 ± 0.11 to 1.25 ± 0.25 pmol · min-1 · 100 ml tissue-1, P < 0.05), but not adrenomedullary activity. Hypoglycemia per se stimulated adrenomedullary activity (plasma epinephrine from 190 ± 70 to 1720 ± 320, pmol/l, P < 0.01). Although SNESO (P < 0.05) and perhaps plasma NE (P < 0.06) were raised to a greater extent during hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia than during hyperinsulinemic euglycemia, FNESO was not. Thus these data do not provide direct support for the concept that hypoglycemia per se also stimulates sympathetic neural activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E872-E881
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5 38-5
StatePublished - 1998


  • Adrenal medullas
  • Epinephrine
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Sympathetic nervous system


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