In vivo assessment of the metabolic alterations in glucagonoma syndrome

Metabolism. 1992 Nov;41(11):1171-5. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(92)90005-u.


Stable-isotope methodology and indirect calorimetry were used to evaluate metabolic abnormalities in a patient with glucagonoma syndrome manifested by 17% body weight loss, hypoaminoacidemia, and hyperglycemia. Energy expenditure (26 kcal/kg) was the same as that predicted by the Harris-Benedict equation. The rate of appearance (Ra) of intracellular leucine (2.70 mumol/kg/min), an index of protein breakdown, was normal, although the percentage of leucine flux oxidized (31%), an index of amino acid catabolism, was 50% greater than the normal mean value. Glucose Ra in plasma (12.9 mumol/kg/min), representing hepatic glucose production, and glycerol Ra in plasma (3.04 mumol/kg/min), a measurement of whole-body lipolysis, were 15% and 25% greater, respectively, than mean values found in normal volunteers. These results suggest that long-term alterations in energy, leucine, glucose, and lipid metabolism in patients with glucagonoma are minimal. However, small long-term metabolic alterations caused by glucagon excess, in conjunction with chronic negative energy balance, could be responsible for the weight loss, hypoaminoacidemia, and hyperglycemia observed in this patient population.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / blood
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Glucagon / blood
  • Glucagonoma / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybutyrates / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Reference Values
  • Syndrome


  • Amino Acids
  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Glucagon