Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2011 Apr;119(4):214-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1269880. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

Effect of hyperthyroidism on clearance and secretion of glucagon in man.

Author information

  • 12nd Department of Internal Medicine, Research Institute and Diabetes Center, Athens University Medical School, Attikon University Hospital, Haidari, Greece.



Glucagon has been proposed to contribute to the increased glucose production found in hyperthyroidism. However, fasting plasma glucagon levels are not increased in hyperthyroidism suggesting that the activity of the α-cell is normal. Nevertheless, an increase in the clearance rate of glucagon may mask increased glucagon secretion. This study was designed to examine the effects of hyperthyroidism on the kinetics of glucagon.


A primed-continuous infusion of glucagon was administered to 9 euthyroid and 9 hyperthyroid subjects at 3 sequential rates (1,200, 3,000 and 6,000 pg/kg/min, each given for 2 h). Arterialized blood was drawn at 15-30 min intervals for determination of glucagon.


Fasting plasma glucagon levels were comparable in euthyroids (195±8 pg/ml) and hyperthyroids (231±16 pg/ml). During infusions (1,200, 3,000 and 6,000 pg/kg/min), plasma glucagon increased to 387±19, 624±44 and 977±51 pg/ml in euthyroids and to 348±23, 597±42 and 938±56 pg/ml in hyperthyroids respectively. At these infusion rates, metabolic clearance of glucagon (ml/kg/min) was 6.6±0.5, 7.4±0.6 and 7.9±0.5 in euthyroids and 12.6±2, 8.9±1 and 8.8±0.6 in hyperthyroids, respectively. Metabolic clearance of glucagon differed between hyperthyroids and euthyroids at 1 200 pg/kg/min infusion rate (p=0.001). The basal delivery rate of glucagon (ng/kg/min) was 1.3±0.1 in euthyroids and 2.9±0.6 in hyperthyroids (p=0.0005).


In hyperthyroidism, the secretion and metabolic clearance rates of glucagon are increased. These effects may explain the changes in plasma glucagon levels observed in hyperthyroidism and support the important role of glucagon in increasing endogenous glucose production in this condition.

© J. A. Barth Verlag in Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart, New York
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk