Increased endogenous glucose production (EGP) contributes to fasting hyperglycemia in type II diabetes. In nondiabetic subjects, increased gluconeogenesis from lactate does not increase EGP. Type 2 diabetes is associated with hyperglucagonemia. The present study was undertaken to examine whether physiologic elevation of plasma glucagon overrides autoregulation of EGP. Eight healthy volunteers were studied on 2 occasions, once during a 3-hour infusion of 30 micromol/kg/min Na-lactate and once during a control infusion of Na-bicarbonate. Plasma glucagon, insulin, and growth hormone were clamped at identical levels in both experiments. Rates of appearance of glucose, lactate, and gluconeogenesis from lactate were measured by tracer techniques. Glucagon infusion rate was elevated when the lactate or bicarbonate infusions were started to induce physiologic hyperglucagonemia. Plasma glucagon increased from baseline levels (234 +/- 21 ng/L and 211 +/- 23 ng/L) to 313 +/- 47 ng/L (bicarbonate experiments) and 329 +/- 43 ng/L (lactate experiments, means +/- SE, P >.3). Lactate infusion increased plasma lactate concentrations from 1.1 +/- 0.9 to 4.6 +/- 0.5 mmol/L (P =.0003). Lactate conversion to glucose increased from 1.5+/-0.3 to 2.8+/-0.8 micromol/kg/min (P =.03) and from 1.7 +/- 0.3 to 8.1 +/- 0.8 micromol/kg/min (P =.0003) in the bicarbonate and lactate experiments, respectively. The increments in lactate conversion to glucose differed significantly (P =.0008). Nevertheless, plasma glucose and EGP were not different in the bicarbonate and lactate experiments: 5.4 +/- 0.5 versus 6.6 +/- 0.7 mmol/L (P =.21), and 10.5 +/- 0.6 versus 11.6 +/- 0.6 micromol/kg/min (P =.19). We conclude that in normal volunteers, neither hyperglucagonemia nor the combination of hyperglucagonemia and increased substrate availability alters the autoregulation of EGP.
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