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Am J Physiol. 1983 Dec;245(6):E575-81.

Interactions of cold exposure and starvation on glucose tolerance and insulin response.


The metabolic interactions of cold exposure, cold acclimation, and starvation on glucose tolerance and plasma insulin levels were studied in precannulated, unrestrained, and unanesthetized rats. Cold exposure (48 h at 5 degrees C) significantly reduced the insulin response to intravenous glucose injection (P less than 0.01) while improving glucose tolerance (P less than 0.01). Starvation (48 h at 25 degrees C) also reduced the insulin response (P less than 0.01) but did not significantly alter glucose tolerance. "Accelerated starvation" induced by starving rats for 48 h at 5 degrees C dramatically reduced both basal and glucose-stimulated insulin levels while even improving glucose tolerance, resulting in a 15-fold reduction in the insulinogenic index. Cold acclimation (3 wk at 5 degrees C) induced essentially the same alterations as cold exposure. Approximately reversed changes were observed when cold-acclimated rats were returned to a warm environment for 15-18 h. Results from these studies indicate that 1) cold exposure and starvation, but not cold acclimation, act synergistically in decreasing the sensitivity and/or the capacity of pancreatic islets for secreting insulin in response to glucose stimulation; 2) glucose tolerance and possibly insulin sensitivity of peripheral tissues are enhanced by cold exposure and starvation, although glucose tolerance is improved by cold exposure only, not by starvation; 3) an improved glucose tolerance with barely detectable plasma insulin levels was obtained in cold-starved rats under normal physiological conditions.

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