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J Clin Invest. 1970 Mar;49(3):524-9.

The gastrointestinal stimulus to insulin release. II. A dual action of secretin.


The insulin release after an oral glucose load is both earlier and greater than would be expected from the glycemic stimulus. This augmentation of insulin release has been attributed to humoral factors from the gut. It has been previously demonstrated that secretin is released very rapidly after oral glucose and postulated that it acts as an early trigger to insulin release. This effect would not explain the magnitude of the peak insulin response which occurs about 30 min after peak secretin levels. The present studies, however, demonstrate an additional action of secretin which may explain this. To further study the role of secretin in insulin release in normal subjects, two consecutive 20 min intravenous glucose infusions were administered 150 min apart with and without an intervening secretin infusion (10 U) given to approximate serum secretin levels seen after oral glucose ingestion. A highly significant (P<0.01) potentiation of the insulin response to the post-secretin glucose infusion was observed. This occurred both when secretin was given 7 min or 25 min before glucose. In the latter case, serum secretin was undetectable during the glucose infusion. These studies demonstrate that secretin potentiates the glycemic release of insulin. Despite the augmented insulin response, no consistent change in blood glucose variation was observed. This is consistent with the suggestion that the facilitated disposal of an alimentary glucose load is not dependent solely on enhanced insulin secretion. Secretin appears to have a dual role in insulin release, an early direct stimulation followed by a prolonged potentiation of the glycemic stimulus. The potentiating effect is of such magnitude to suggest that secretin is the dominant factor in the enteric component of insulin release after an oral glucose load.

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