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J Clin Invest. 1972 Jul;51(7):1870-8.

Splanchnic and peripheral glucose and amino acid metabolism in diabetes mellitus.


Splanchnic and leg exchange of glucose, lactate, pyruvate, and individual plasma amino acids was studied in diabetics 24 hr after withdrawal of insulin and in healthy controls. Measurements were made in the basal postabsorptive state and during the administration of glucose at a rate of 2 mg/kg per min for 45 min. In the basal state, net splanchnic glucose production did not differ significantly between diabetics and controls. However, splanchnic uptake of alanine and other glycogenic amino acids was 1(1/2)-2 times greater in the diabetics, while lactate and pyruvate uptake was increased by 65-115%. Splanchnic uptake of these glucose precursors could account for 32% of hepatic glucose output in the diabetics, as compared to 20% in the controls. This increase in precursor uptake was a consequence of a two- to threefold increment in fractional extraction of these substrates inasmuch as arterial levels of alanine, glycine, and threonine were reduced in the diabetics, while the levels of the remaining substrates were similar in the two groups. Peripheral output of alanine and other glycogenic amino acids as reflected in arterio-femoral venous differences was similar in both groups. An elevation in arterial valine, leucine, and isoleucine was observed in the diabetics, but could not be accounted for on the basis of alterations in splanchnic or peripheral exchange of these amino acids. Administration of glucose (2 mg/kg per min) for 45 min resulted in an 80% reduction in splanchnic glucose output in controls, but failed to inhibit hepatic glucose release in the diabetics despite a twofold greater increment in arterial glucose levels. In both groups no consistent changes in arterial glucagon were observed during the infusion. It is concluded that in nonketotic diabetics (a) total splanchnic output of glucose is comparable to controls, but the relative contribution of gluconeogenesis may be increased by more than 50%; (b) accelerated splanchnic uptake of glucose precursors is a consequence of increased hepatic extraction of available substrates rather than a result of augmented substrate supply; and (c) the failure of glucose infusion to inhibit hepatic glucose output suggests that the exquisite sensitivity of the liver to the infusion of glucose in normal man is a consequence of glucose-induced insulin secretion.

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