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Diabetologia. 2007 Jan;50(1):142-50. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Glucagon receptor knockout mice are resistant to diet-induced obesity and streptozotocin-mediated beta cell loss and hyperglycaemia.

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Laboratory Animal Resources, Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ, USA.



Under normal physiological conditions, glucagon signalling is important in glucose homeostasis. Hyperglucagonaemia or altered insulin:glucagon ratio plays a role in maintaining hyperglycaemia in subjects with type 2 diabetes. It has been reported that glucagon receptor knockout (Gcgr (-/-)) mice develop normally and have lower plasma glucose on a normal diet. The goal of the current research was to further investigate the role of glucagon signalling in metabolic control and glucose homeostasis.


Gcgr (-/-) mice were challenged with a high-fat diet (HFD) and with streptozotocin, which induces beta cell damage. They were then analysed for whole-body and serum metabolic phenotypes as well as pancreatic islet morphology.


In comparison with wild-type mice, Gcgr (-/-) mice exhibited decreased body weight and food intake, reduced plasma glucose levels, and improved oral and intraperitoneal glucose tolerance. Elevated glucagon-like peptide-1 levels and reduced gastric emptying were also observed in Gcgr (-/-) mice, which also had reduced HFD-induced hyperinsulinaemia and hyperleptinaemia, and were resistant to the development of hepatic steatosis. In addition, Gcgr (-/-) mice were resistant to STZ-induced hyperglycaemia and pancreatic beta cell destruction.


This study demonstrates that blocking glucagon signalling by targeted Gcgr gene deletion leads to an improvement in metabolic control in this mouse model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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