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J Physiol. 1999 Sep 15;519 Pt 3:911-21.

Effect of adrenaline on glucose kinetics during exercise in adrenalectomised humans.

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School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood 3125, Australia.


1. The role of adrenaline in regulating hepatic glucose production and muscle glucose uptake during exercise was examined in six adrenaline-deficient, bilaterally adrenalectomised humans. Six sex- and age-matched healthy individuals served as controls (CON). 2. Adrenalectomised subjects cycled for 45 min at 68 +/- 1 % maximum pulmonary O2 uptake (VO2,max), followed by 15 min at 84 +/- 2 % VO2, max without (-ADR) or with (+ADR) adrenaline infusion, which elevated plasma adrenaline levels (45 min, 4.49 +/- 0.69 nmol l-1; 60 min, 12.41 +/- 1.80 nmol l-1; means +/- s.e.m.). Glucose kinetics were measured using [3-3H]glucose. 3. Euglycaemia was maintained during exercise in CON and -ADR, whilst in +ADR plasma glucose was elevated. The exercise-induced increase in hepatic glucose production was similar in +ADR and -ADR; however, adrenaline infusion augmented the rise in hepatic glucose production early in exercise. Glucose uptake increased during exercise in +ADR and -ADR, but was lower and metabolic clearance rate was reduced in +ADR. 4. During exercise noradrenaline and glucagon concentrations increased, and insulin and cortisol concentrations decreased, but plasma levels were similar between trials. Adrenaline infusion suppressed growth hormone and elevated plasma free fatty acids, glycerol and lactate. Alanine and beta-hydroxybutyrate levels were similar between trials. 5. The results demonstrate that glucose homeostasis was maintained during exercise in adrenalectomised subjects. Adrenaline does not appear to play a major role in matching hepatic glucose production to the increase in glucose clearance. In contrast, adrenaline infusion results in a mismatch by simultaneously enhancing hepatic glucose production and inhibiting glucose clearance.

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