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Horm Metab Res Suppl. 1992;26:109-10.

Responses of peripheral blood cells to acute insulin-induced hypoglycaemia in humans: effect of alpha-adrenergic blockade.

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  • 1Department of Diabetes, Western Infirmary, Glasgow, United Kingdom.


Acute hypoglycaemia provokes rapid changes in peripheral blood cell counts. To examine possible adrenergic mechanisms modulating these changes, counts of peripheral blood cells including lymphocytes, granulocytes and red cells were measured in response to acute hypoglycaemia in a group of six normal subjects in control conditions (study 1), and during alpha-adrenergic blockade with phentolamine (study 2). In study 1 hypoglycaemia provoked a biphasic white cell response, with an early rise in lymphocyte count and a later rise in granulocyte count. The red cell count increased modestly following hypoglycaemia. During alpha-adrenergic blockade, the rise in total white cell count was diminished, with the rise in the lymphocyte count being greatly obtunded. The rise in the granulocyte count was unchanged. The increment of the red cell count during acute hypoglycaemia was abolished. These findings suggest that the increments of peripheral lymphocyte and red cell counts in response to acute insulin-induced hypoglycaemia are mediated via alpha-adrenoreceptors.

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