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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2013 Jan;164(1):91-100. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2012.10.012. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

Unique roles of glucagon and glucagon-like peptides: Parallels in understanding the functions of adipokinetic hormones in stress responses in insects.

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Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre, Academy of Science, Branišovská 31, České Budějovice, 370 05-CZ, Czech Republic.


Glucagon is conventionally regarded as a hormone, counter regulatory in function to insulin and plays a critical anti-hypoglycemic role by maintaining glucose homeostasis in both animals and humans. Glucagon performs this function by increasing hepatic glucose output to the blood by stimulating glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis in response to starvation. Additionally it plays a homeostatic role by decreasing glycogenesis and glycolysis in tandem to try and maintain optimal glucose levels. To perform this action, it also increases energy expenditure which is contrary to what one would expect and has actions which are unique and not entirely in agreement with its role in protection from hypoglycemia. Interestingly, glucagon-like peptides (GLP-1 and GLP-2) from the major fragment of proglucagon (in non-mammalian vertebrates, as well as in mammals) may also modulate response to stress in addition to their other physiological actions. These unique modes of action occur in response to psychological, metabolic and other stress situations and mirror the role of adipokinetic hormones (AKHs) in insects which perform a similar function. The findings on the anti-stress roles of glucagon and glucagon-like peptides in mammalian and non-mammalian vertebrates may throw light on the multiple stress responsive mechanisms which operate in a concerted manner under regulation by AKH in insects thus functioning as a stress responsive hormone while also maintaining organismal homeostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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